Word on the street is that it was bound to happen sooner or later.
At some point, it was going to come to this between two of the GOP’s most dominant personalities, one old and one new. Whether it’s lovers, siblings, or friends, there comes a point when even the best relationships have their falling out moment. And that moment will certainly show the true colors of both lawmakers.
Jason Priest and Dave Lewis aren’t yet openly at war with each other, rather the rivals have been ostensibly friendly in public.
There are, however, rumors that RNC staff have been out to meet with Priest in his home town, presumably to groom him for a political future, something that must grate on Lewis, whose legislative career is ending with nowhere for him to land.
Some would argue that Jason Priest’s flamboyant, applause-fueled lunatic-filled hearings style is becoming more than irksome to Dave Lewis, who prefers the old-school, deal-making-in-smoke-filled-back-rooms-way of doing business.
Lewis has clearly been somewhat in charge of the GOP caucus in the past as their go-to budget guy. He clearly prefers to be the individual in power behind the scenes more than the wingman of a wingnut. It is Priest who has been bringing forward all the flashy, GOP-campaign-promised health care repeal bills, garnering him the statewide press and constituent accolades.
What’s more, Lewis is “on the government dole”, having been a state employee most of his life, while Priest is a “self-made” (read massive inheritance) businessman. Some say it is this rivalry which prompted Lewis to bring forward his anti-state employee bill to attempt to compensate for his background. The rivalry is also suspected of being behind Lewis’s massive shift to the right – far afield from the views of his district.
Their rather tense relationship will be further tested in coming weeks, as each tries to stake out the ground and the top conservative in the Capitol. Stay tuned.