State Rep. Jon Hardister won reelection to his third term last week, and this week he’s in another race. This time for a state House leadership position.
Hardister, who represents District 59 in Greensboro, is running for House majority whip, which is the number three leadership position behind the speaker and majority leader.
The main job of a whip is to count votes, which may not sound hard, but it’s counting votes before they are cast. It’s considered bad form for the majority party to put bills on the floor for a vote that don’t pass. The job of the whip is to count the votes and try to convince legislators who are on the fence to come down on the leadership’s side.
Hardister didn’t have much trouble winning on Nov. 8, but this race isn’t likely to be so easy. Two other state representatives, who are both currently members of the House leadership team, are also running.
Rep. Pat Hurley from Asheboro, who is currently Joint Caucus leader – one step down from majority whip – is also running for majority whip. Hurley has served 10 years in the House, and if her name sounds familiar it may be because the Greensboro redistricting bill sponsored by state Sen. Trudy Wade in the Senate was folded into Hurley’s similar bill to redistrict Trinity in the House, where it became House Bill 263.
On that bill Hurley was in favor of it and spoke in favor of it. By contrast, Hardister was opposed and spoke against the bill then. After it was revised by a conference committee, Hardister was in favor of the bill and voted for it the first time it came to the House floor, where it failed. It was brought back to the House floor and voted on a second time on the same day, and Hardister voted against the Greensboro redistricting bill the second time. So Hardister was against it, for it and then against it. Leadership generally doesn’t like that kind of back and forth voting. In fact, voting just like that is what makes the majority whip’s job really difficult, since the job is to predict what the vote will be on the House floor.
Rep. John Bradford from Cornelius, who just won his second term and is currently the freshman majority whip, is also running for majority whip.
Speaker Tim Moore from Kings Mountain is being challenged by Rep. Harry Warren from Salisbury. Warren ran and lost in the Republican primary for Congress in the 13th District. He just won his fourth term in the House. The speaker’s job is to run the House, but it’s also his job to raise money and make sure his party maintains the majority. In this election the House maintained its 74 seat Republican majority. According to his fellow representatives, there doesn’t seem to be much chance that Republican representatives would vote to replace Moore.
The number two position in the House is majority leader, held by Rep. John Bell of Wayne County. Bell had been majority whip and was elected majority leader when the former majority leader, Mike Hager, resigned last summer. Rep. Dean Arp was elected majority whip but isn’t running for reelection.