BULLETIN: Adrienne Jones Poised to Become Next Speaker

House Speaker Pro Tem Adrienne Jones (D-Baltimore County) signs a guest book at the ceremony honoring the late Speaker Michael E. Busch in April. She is poised to become speaker on Wednesday afternoon. Photo by Danielle E. Gaines

In a stunning development, leaders of the House Democratic Caucus emerged from their tense four-hour meeting Wednesday afternoon to announce that Speaker Pro Tem Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County) is their unanimous choice to replace the late House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel), who died on April 7.

The full House is set to meet momentarily to ratify the choice.

Although the Democratic caucus had been deciding between House Appropriations Chair Maggie L. McIntosh (D-Baltimore City) and House Economic Matters Chair Dereck E. Davis (D-Prince George’s), the Democrats could not reach a consensus between the two frontrunners, who had been preparing to seek the top job for years. In an early afternoon vote, the caucus cast 58 votes for McIntosh and 40 votes for Davis, according to sources.

But Davis carried 42 Republican pledges in his back pocket, and Democratic leaders became nervous about giving the final say on House speaker to the GOP. Jones, who had previously announced her intention to seek the top job but bowed out Friday and endorsed Davis, quickly emerged as the compromise candidate.

After 240 years of white male House speakers, the chamber is now on the verge of being led by an African-American woman.

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Josh Kurtz
Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.

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