I go home totally despondent, little knowing how things were going to get even worse. The next morning I get to my office and Joe the lobbyist is waiting for me: “Say,” he says, “we got Jimmy Pomeroy [another legislator] willing to move to reconsider the vote on the consumer loan bill; is there anything we can do to get your support?” [Because Rep. Pomeroy had voted with me on the prevailing side to defeat the bill, the Rules of the House allowed him to move to reconsider at the next session.] “No,” I said, “There’s nothing you can do to buy me off – out of my office!” Then I go to the Speaker’s office to see what can be done, but the news just gets worse. The Speaker tells me that Joe has been writing $200 campaign donation checks to all the legislators who voted with me telling them to vote with Pomeroy today. In those days it was legal to give and receive campaign donations during a session. You had to have the moxie to be wined and dined by the lobbyists and still vote against them.
The only thing the Speaker can suggest is prepare for a floor fight.
Walking back from the Speaker’s office I run into an old poker-playing friend who is now the Commissioner of the Human Rights Department. I tell him the whole sad story. He happens to be a very savvy guy and says to me: “You know, the Senate Majority Leader and Joe are very good friends. Think about the poor folks in your district: Might they be better off with the million dollar housing program even if they have to pay higher interest rates on their small loans?” “Wow, I getcha,” I said. So I call Joe and tell him I’ve decided there is something he can do to get my help on the Pomeroy motion and ask him to meet back in my office. When Joe shows up I tell him that if he can get the Senate Majority Leader to give me back my million dollars, then I’ll walk off the floor when Pomeroy offers his motion. Sure enough, an hour later Joe comes back and says “You’ve got your million dollars back.”
Tomorrow: Politics is an Art