Asheboro, N.C. — House Republicans have chosen Rep. Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, as their candidate for speaker, all but assuring that he will ascend to the post in January.
"I am committed to improving North Carolina through greater economic opportunity, less burdensome regulations and a new vision for educating and equipping our students," Moore said in a news release Saturday. "We cannot forget the great responsibility that the voters have entrusted with us."
Republicans will hold 74 of the 120 seats in the state House when it convenes next year. Although all 120 members will vote on the choice of speaker on Jan. 14, the first day of the legislative session, Moore should have a smooth path to election, barring a seldom-seen splintering of his caucus.
Lawmakers inside the closed-door caucus meeting on Saturday used social media to announce that Rep. Paul "Skip" Stam, R-Wake, had been elected as the GOP choice for speaker pro tem, the No. 2 position in the chamber.
The state House speaker controls the flow of legislation, often determining what bills will be heard and which will lay fallow. Along with the governor and president pro tem of the state Senate, the position is widely regarded as one of the most powerful in the state.
During the 2013-14 legislative session, Moore was the powerful Rules Committee chairman in the House, helping outgoing House Speaker Thom Tillis manage the day-to-day operations of the chamber. His selection may be good news for Gov. Pat McCrory, who has sometimes been at odds with Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger.
"I'm a conservative, but the way I've governed and served is to be pragmatic," Moore told WRAL News last week.
While others in the running for speaker may have been closer to Berger in their politics, Moore is viewed as friendlier to the governor, who called to congratulate him on Saturday.
"I'd like to congratulate Speaker Designee Moore and the rest of the House members who will assume important leadership roles this session," McCrory said in a release. "I look forward to working with both the House and Senate to find solutions that strengthen our state and build on the accomplishments we've made in the past two years."
McCrory said he planned to visit Moore at his home in Kings Mountain on Sunday.
Tillis also released a statement Saturday afternoon congratulating Moore.
"Tim has been a valuable asset to the House leadership team, and I am glad that the House of Representatives will be left in his capable hands," Tillis said. "Tim's proven leadership and dedication to all the citizens of North Carolina will be well-served in the coming two years, and I wish him and all of my fellow legislators well as January's legislative session approaches."
Berger, R-Rockingham, echoed Tillis' statement in one of his own.
“I congratulate Speaker-designee Tim Moore and the other newly selected House leaders for receiving a vote of confidence and support from their colleagues and look forward to working closely together to continue making North Carolina a better place to live, work and raise a family,” Berger said.
Rep. John R. Bell, R-Wayne, was also chosen Saturday to be the next majority whip for the House Republican Caucus.