Something really stinks . I really think blackmail is behind some of the switching that seems to happen to people.
posted on 01/24/2003 11:46:14 AM PST
GOP defection shakes up N.C. House
By AMY GARDNER AND LYNN BONNER, STAFF WRITERS
State Rep. Michael P. Decker of Forsyth County switched his party registration to Democrat this morning, leaving the House of Representatives evenly divided and moving the already tumultuous race for speaker toward even further chaos.
Decker, an 18-year veteran of the House, has voted with staunch conservatives over the years on such issues as liquor sales, abortion and social services spending. His defection stunned Republicans and Democrats, and instantly gave House Speaker Jim Black, a Mecklenburg County Democrat, new momentum in his efforts to retain his post.
"It is just unfathomable given Mike's positions over the years," said state Rep. Sam Ellis, a Raleigh Republican. "He surely went to the wrong party if those are the issues he wishes to advance."
Before the switch, Republicans controlled the House by a margin of 61 to 59. Now, the balance will be 60 Republicans and 60 Democrats.
Speculation swirled, meanwhile, at Decker's motives. Ellis and others said Black has offered Decker the position of speaker pro tem, the No. 2 post in the state House.
Decker could not be reached for comment early today, but the Forsyth County Board of Elections confirmed that Decker switched party registration at 10 a.m.
Black also was unavailable.
Decker did deny as recently as Wednesday that he was working on any deals. "I haven't made any requests and haven't gotten any offers," he said.
posted on 01/24/2003 11:48:09 AM PST
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