Colleagues backing Hall as next speaker say he’s Day 1 ready

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(The Center Square) – North Carolina House Rules Committee Chairman Destin Hall is “ready to step into the role” of House speaker “on Day 1,” his colleagues told The Center Square.

Top North Carolina Republicans are lining up behind the representative of Caldwell and Watauga counties in his bid to succeed Rep. Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, the longest serving speaker in state history.

“Based on my observation Destin Hall has been received very well, his campaign for speaker has a lot of momentum right now,” Rep. Jon Hardister, R-Guilford, told The Center Square. “Speaker Moore has been speaker a long time … and the caucus wants someone who’s ready to step into the role on Day 1. People see Destin Hall as someone who’s ready.”

Moore, an attorney who has served in the House since 2003 and as speaker since 2015, will not return to the General Assembly next year. He confirmed speculation last week that he’s considering a run for an open 14th District in Congress, though Moore said he’s still pondering “other options” as well.

Hall, House Majority Leader John Bell, R-Wayne, and Appropriations Committee Senior Chairman Jason Saine, R-Lincoln, have been jockeying for weeks for the House gavel. All three announced an agreement last week on a succession plan following Moore’s departure. Rep. Keith Kidwell, R-Beaufort, senior chairman of the Finance Committee, is also in the running.

Efforts were unsuccessful by The Center Square to talk with Hall and Kidwell before publication.

Hardister, who served as deputy majority whip this year before resigning the post to focus on his campaign for labor commissioner, said he won’t be around when his caucus officially votes on a new speaker. He said his experience working with Hall over the last four terms has convinced him the 36-year-old Granite Falls lawyer is the right man for the job.

As Rules Committee chairman, Hall manages the flow of legislation in the lower chamber, and “members have been impressed with how he manages bills,” Hardister said.

“He also frequently will chair session when Speaker Moore has to step down,” he said. “He does extremely well with that. He manages debate on the floor well.”

Hardister cited Hall’s work leading the House redistricting efforts, as well as his approachability as positive traits that would serve him well as the top Republican in the House.

Rep. Ben Moss, serving his second term representing Richmond and Moore counties, agreed Hall has “the experience and communication skills” to lead the lower chamber. Hall was first elected in 2016.

“He’s an educated guy, and he’s easy to get along with,” Moss said. “And I don’t think he has issues working across the aisle, working with the Democrat side. At the end of the day, if you’re speaker you have to work with both sides.”

“He’s always willing to make time to answer questions,” he said. “He’s almost like a walking encyclopedia.”

Hall and other House leaders have cited struggles to elect a speaker in the U.S. House as a motivation to get a plan in place early. Both Hardister and Moss said lawmakers would prefer to avoid the turmoil that engulfed Washington.

“If the election goes the way you think it may, you’re ready,” Moss said. “You won’t have to waste time to go through the selection process and the inside campaigning.”

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