The last time Republican Rep. Leo Daughtry ran for N.C. House speaker, it precipitated one of the biggest legislative upheavals in state history.
Now the Smithfield lawyer is running again. He's one of six GOP lawmakers in a race that House Republicans will decide Saturday at a meeting in Asheboro.
In November 2002, Republicans had just won a slim, 61-59 majority in House elections. A split GOP caucus nominated Daughtry for speaker. Not everybody was happy.
Critics, led by GOP Rep. Richard Morgan, continued to criticize Daughtry while scheming with Democratic leader Jim Black. With the caucus still divided in late January, Daughtry stepped aside in the name of unity. Republicans chose veteran Republican George Holmes as would-be speaker.
But the bottom was falling out for Republicans. Rep. Michael Decker made a surprise party shift, giving Democrats one more vote. And Morgan cut a deal with Black that made them co-speakers and sparked a long-running feud within the Republican Party.
Turned out Black had given Decker cash, campaign contributions and favors to switch parties. Both would go to prison on federal corruption charges. Morgan became a pariah to many Republicans and lost his seat in a 2006 GOP primary.