State House Speaker Kirk Adams will leave the chamber's top leadership post, his spokesman said Tuesday, and representatives will pick a new speaker to serve out the rest of Adams' two-year term.The move isn't really a surprise, as the worst-kept secret in Arizona politics is that Adams is going to run for Congress next year.
Adams did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but spokesman Daniel Scarpinato confirmed that Adams planned to step down as speaker Thursday.
Scarpinato declined to say whether Adams also plans to resign his state House seat.
Things *could* get interesting if Adams tries to hang on to his House seat - while Arizona's "resign-to-run" law is all but toothless, it could still impact his ability to raise money between now and the beginning of 2012.
I expect that he will ultimately resign from the House, not just give up his speakership, because regardless of what the district maps look like, he is likely to face significant primary opposition for the open seat.
He's smart enough to know better than to give the other candidates a big head start, and the duties of even a rank-and-file member of the legislature could get in the way of serious campaigning.
Anyway, House Republicans are expected to choose Adams' successor as speaker on Thursday. The Republic article speculated that they will choose either Rep. John Kavanagh (R-LD8), chair of House Appropriations, or Rep. Eddie Farnsworth (R-LD22). Two other names that could possibly percolate in watercooler talk are Reps. Andy Tobin (R-LD1), the current House majority leader or Jim Weiers (R-LD10), a former speaker.
Still, the Republic's speculation is probably in the ballpark - both Kavanagh and Farnsworth are viewed as ambitious, having aspirations to higher office. A speakership entry on the political resume could definitely help either one in that regard.