Marsh stepping down as Senate president pro tem; new leaders selected

Marsh stepping down as Senate president pro tem; new leaders selected

By MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News

Sen. Del Marsh, the Alabama Senate’s President Pro Tem since 2010, is stepping down from the top leadership position.

The current Majority Leader, Sen. Greg Reed, R-Jasper, will become President Pro Tem when the 2021 session begins in February. Sen. Clay Scofield, R-Guntersville, will become Majority Leader.

The leadership changes were settled today at a Senate GOP caucus meeting in Birmingham, a source close to the situation told Inside Alabama Politics on the condition of anonymity.

“The most anticipated news from the caucus was the expectation that Marsh would announce he’s shedding responsibilities of pro tem to focus on two or three narrowly focused policy initiatives,” the source said.

Marsh. R-Anniston, told his colleagues that serving as pro tem had been one of his life’s greatest honors, but that his ability to shepherd through a few significant pieces of legislation would be much greater if he wasn’t worried about managing all aspects of the Senate’s operations.

Marsh earlier this month told IAP that there were several bills, including some on education reform, that he wants to get passed in his last two years in the Legislature. He is not seeking a seventh term in 2022.

A replacement for Marsh wasn’t expected to be named today — meetings had been scheduled for December and January to nominate and fill the vacancies created by Marsh’s announcement.

However, according to the source who was present today, senators said further discussions weren’t necessary and nominated Reed and Scofield.  No other nominations for either leadership were put forward and the selections were unanimous.

Reed’s ascension to top Senate leader has been expected for years. He has served as majority leader for six years, managing the GOP Caucus and being responsible for reelection campaigns in 2014 and 2018 that saw Republicans grow their ranks. Marsh and Reed, along with their staffs, have been working in concert the last few years in anticipation that Reed would eventually take over the top job. The fact that there were no other names considered speaks to Reed’s position within the Caucus.

Scofield has quietly paid his dues as chairman of the Senate Confirmations Committee for two terms now. While generally a thankless job, running confirmations has allowed Scofield to do favors for fellow senators who have appointment needs back home. It also has allowed him to build relationships with  Gov. Kay Ivey and her staff, since they so often must work together on confirmations, and with the Senate minority on how many African Americans are being appointed to various boards.

Senate Republicans maintain 27 of the 35 seats in that chamber, so what happens within their caucus is effectively what will happen on the Senate floor in February.

ADN Publisher Todd Stacy contributed to this report.