While the year 2024 is still a long way off, the race for the top leadership position in the House of Representatives may already be underway. After Lawrence McClure recently won a special election in Hillsborough County, he was congratulated by Bobby Olszewski, who was himself victorious in an Orlando-area special election this fall.
“Congratulations to my friend and new State Rep. Lawrence McClure,” Olszewski tweeted, adding, “Rep. @Daniel_PerezFL and I welcome you to our class!”
Daniel Perez had won a September vote in South Florida, in what was a busy few months of special elections throughout the state. He chimed in via Twitter, retweeting and agreeing with “bobby boy” and congratulating McClure on his win.
Olszewski’s congratulatory tweet created rumors of jockeying for leadership positions among those with a head start in a growing freshman class. Peter Schorsch of FloridaPolitics.com tweeted, “By the way, all this good will between @Daniel_PerezFL, Bobby O. and McClure is just jockeying for the 2024 Speaker’s race, which is already underway.”
Historically, the winners of special elections have had the inside track for speakerships or leadership positions, since they have a head start in adapting to the machinations of the state capital.
Olszewski’s seat has a particular history of importance to GOP leadership. Steve Precourt was Majority Leader who resigned his term early and created a special election won by Eric Eisnaugle, who moved up the leadership ranks and was in contention to himself be Speaker. Ultimately his class went a different direction and Eisnaugle was appointed to a judgeship by Governor Scott, which created the special election ultimately won by Olszewski.
While it remains to be seen whether the Twitter rumors are true, the leadership team of the upcoming freshman class seems to be taking shape with Olszewski, Perez and McClure at the center. History may look back on Olszewski’s tweet as a friendly opening salvo in a protracted race.