- Associated Press - Saturday, November 22, 2014

ASHEBORO, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina Republican lawmakers on Saturday picked state Rep. Tim Moore of Cleveland County to become the next leader of the state House of Representatives.

House Republicans selected the 44-year-old Kings Mountain attorney and metal recycling company owner as their nominee to succeed Thom Tillis, who is headed to the U.S. Senate after defeating incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan earlier this month.

The official selection of House speaker and other leaders isn’t until January, but with Republicans holding 74 seats in the 120-member House, Moore is destined to take over the top job short of a surprise in the next two months.

Moore said he’ll have a differing management style than Tillis.

“Tom’s background was larger, corporate. I’ve been an attorney involved in small business,” Moore said.

One issue Moore may be faced with is whether to expand Medicaid. Moore said he was unconvinced that it should be expanded.

Republican GOP Gov. Pat McCrory has hinted that Medicaid deserves another look next year. Moore said he would encourage fellow Republican colleagues to form a collective position on it.

House Republicans also chose attorney Paul “Skip” Stam, R-Wake, to the chamber’s No. 2 position and retired Duke Energy engineer Mike Hager, R-Rutherford, to lead GOP lawmakers as their majority leader. John Bell, of Goldsboro, was picked to be majority whip, a job that involves keeping fellow Republicans in line to vote for issues that Moore and other party members decide to support.

Moore has been a House member for 12 years. In the early 1990s, he served as speaker of the Student Congress at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was one of Tillis’ lieutenants and among six men in the race.

“Tim has been a valuable asset to the House leadership team and I am glad that the House of Representatives will be left in his capable hands,” Tillis said in a statement.

Other GOP House members seeking the top job were Leo Daughtry, of Smithfield, John Blust, of Greensboro, Justin Burr, of Albemarle, Bryan Holloway, of King, and Mitchell Setzer, of Catawba.

Candidates campaigned before Saturday’s election by telling colleagues they would give the committee chairmen they’d appoint more independence than Tillis did, negotiate more effectively with the Senate and do a better job promoting the GOP message.

“Any top-down approach in the House must end,” Burr wrote in an email to colleagues.

Moore’s expected takeover as House speaker comes as Republicans retained veto-proof majorities in this month’s elections.

Four years ago, Republicans took control of both the House and Senate simultaneously for the first time in 140 years.

With Tillis at the helm during that time, Republicans have passed laws reducing income tax rates, creating taxpayer-funded scholarships for children to attend private schools, restricted abortion and mandated photo identification to vote.

Tillis was a proven campaign fundraiser who brought in millions, and Moore has also showed himself to be an able fundraiser. He has raised more than the other five candidates for speaker. Legislative leaders use their campaign donations to help other lawmakers.

Moore first won his seat in the Legislature by upsetting a Democratic House leader in 2002. His victory helped give Republicans a 61-59 advantage in the House.

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Emery Dalesio can be reached at https://twitter.com/emerydalesio.

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Associated Press writer Gary D. Robertson contributed to this report.


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