That's what GOP insiders are saying.
Even as I write this, there are closed-door meetings going on at the Capitol to determine who'll be the next Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives.
As one semi-insider told me: "I don't know if Glenn is involved in those discussions or they're simply going to inform him of the results, but we should hear something by tomorrow."
New mayor. New House Speaker. Wednesday's shaping up to be a giant news day.
For those just catching up, Fox 5 aired a mesmerizing interview last night in which the ex-Mrs. Richardson tells reporter Dale Russell that the Speaker most certainly was having an affair with an AGL lobbyist as the House was voting on rate hikes to fund a proposed gas pipeline. More recently, she said, Richardson threatened to use the state patrol to keep her in line and attempted suicide in order to "guilt" her into coming back to him. Yikes.
Now, Gold Dome infidelities are a dime a dozen. You can't swing a briefcase down there without hitting some lawmaker's paramour. But, as one former legislator tells me, "You've got to work pretty hard to have your affair end up in the media." Now that Richardson's indiscretion is on TV and documented in the e-mails and text messages his wife has reportedly handed over to Russell it puts extra pressure on the rest of the leadership to put this story to bed before reporters begin snooping around their private affairs. It's enough to give one a backache.
So Richardson is out. But who's in?
It scares the hell out of me to say this, but my guess is Rep. Jerry Keen, R-St. Simons. As House Majority Leader, he helped most of the committee chairmen get their positions, so he can likely count on some high-powered support. Plus, he's tough, ruthless and crazily ambitious.
The other strong possibility is Rep. Mark Burkhalter, R-Johns Creek. As Speaker Pro Tem, he's technically the No. 2 man in the House, but I'm told Burkhalter is currently focused on being picked to succeed Dan Graveline as executive director of the Georgia World Congress Center and may not have the fire to fight Keen for the Speaker's gavel.
So what makes Keen so goddamn scary? Well, for starters, he's the former director of the Georgia Christian Coalition. Next, he's the architect of the state's blatantly unconstitutional sex-offender law, the one that's forced Cobb sex offenders to camp out in the woods. Finally, Keen is smooth, well-spoken, as slick as they come oily, even with a calm, authoritative presence that belies his insidious intent.
Richardson had more than his share of personal issues, but on social issues he was fairly moderate. A Speaker Keen, on the other hand, could be expected to turn the clock in Georgia right back to the Old Testament. Forget about Sunday alcohol sales we'll be lucky if it remains legal to drink on Sunday. If you think Georgia is backwards on the issue of stem-cell research, just wait. Better get those abortions while you can, folks.
With Keen in charge, we'll be Georgia-bama before you can say, "Fergit, hell!"
P.S. Who else stands to lose big from Richardson's fall from grace? None other than the ever-jovial Rep. Earl Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs, who has enjoyed his status as House Rules Chairman because Richardson needed an enforcer. Unless he bets right on who'll be the next Speaker and cuts a hell of a deal, Ehrhart will be lucky to end up secretary of Interstate Cooperation.
UPDATE: Insider Advantage reports that WSB-TV has learned Richardson is planning to resign as Speaker.
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