Robert DeLeo is poised to become the next speaker of the Massachusetts House, after rival John Rogers dropped his bid Tuesday to succeed the departing Salvatore DiMasi.
No sooner had DiMasi delivered his farewell remarks to a packed House Chamber, then Rogers, D-Norwood, walked up the center aisle, shook DeLeo's hand and conceded what had become a bitter fight for the powerful position.
"He feels that I will be the Democratic nominee and he's going to urge all his supporters to back me for speaker of the House," DeLeo said as he was backed by a group of supporters outside the House Chamber.
Late Monday, DeLeo, a Democrat from Winthrop and the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, released a list of the names of 92 House lawmakers he said were supporting him - more than the 81 needed to secure the speaker's office.
DiMasi's resignation takes effect at 5 p.m. Tuesday. The House planned a vote Wednesday to choose its next speaker.
DeLeo, 58, represents the 19th Suffolk District, which consists of the town of Winthrop and all or parts of three precincts in Revere.
DiMasi's swan song comes just three weeks after he was overwhelming re-elected by House members to another two-year term to the powerful office.
The Boston Democrat has been battling months of scrutiny about the alleged lobbying actions of a close friend accused of using his influence with DiMasi to push ticket-scalping legislation. DiMasi has denied his decision to step down was connected to the investigation, but said he didn't want to finish his term and it was better to leave before the budget debate.
This program aired on January 27, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.