Both Tallahassee and Washington D.C. capitol complexes buzzing with political intrugue

by | Jan 3, 2023

  • Parking will be at a premium in both downtown Tallahassee and Washington D.C. today as inauguration ceremonies and other drama unfolds in both capitals
  • Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet begin new terms today, with Ag Commissioner Wilton Simpson marking the only transition takeover
  • In Washington, six fresh faces from the Florida delegation will be sworn in for the first time
  • After that, more drama unfolds as the House of Representatives chooses a new Speaker, with Rep. Matt Gaetz saying he’s a “hard no” on Kevin McCarthy

In Tallahassee, inauguration ceremonies mark the start of new terms in office, while in Washington D.C., a contentious race for Speaker of the House has several Florida Congressional Delegation Members in the spotlight.

At noon on Tuesday, Florida’s highest ranking statewide officials, who comprise the Florida Cabinet, will kick off the beginning of their new terms today with inauguration ceremonies for Gov. Ron DeSantis, Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez, Attorney General Ashley Moody, state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and the newly elected Agriculture Commissioner, Wilton Simpson.

Of that group, the Republican Simpson’s swearing-in at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services marks the only real “transition” as control over the office shifts out of Democrat Nikki Fried’s hands. While the official swearing-in ceremony takes place at noon today, Florida law merely says that statewide officeholders “shall begin on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January after said election.”

And it looks like Simpson’s already started work, with a takeover of the official Agriculture Commissioner website.

A public records request for transition-related documents, submitted to Fried’s office on December 1, 2022, went unfulfilled.

Meanwhile, there is high drama unfolding in the halls of Congress in Washington D.C., today. The two-year term of the 118th U.S. Congress is slated to begin, bringing in new U.S. House members, including six new faces from Florida. The day will see the first-time swearing in of Republicans Aaron Bean, Cory Mills, Anna Paulina Luna and Laurel Lee and Democrats Maxwell Frost and Jared Moskowitz.

But even more drama is expected, as the newly sworn members will immediately be expected to cast votes for a new Speaker of the House. Just two months ago, Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy was expected to cruise to an easy win to replace outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But Pelosi won’t hand over the gavel until her successor can garner a simple majority of votes from all members. With the GOP holding a slim majority, McCarthy can’t afford any Republicans to pull their support, but that’s not a sure thing.

Several media outlets are reporting that there are as many as nine holdouts, including five “hard no” votes who say they’ll never vote for McCarthy. One of those hard no votes is Florida’s 1st Congressional District Representative Matt Gaetz, who’s made it clear that despite several concessions from McCarthy to those GOP holdouts, they will not vote for him.

The new House, which includes the youngest freshman class in Congressional history, is set to convene at noon Eastern time.


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