There are really three elections every two years: the primary election, general election, and private caucus elections. You don’t participate in the caucus elections – called the “Organizational Meeting” - unless you survive the primary and general elections. In the first two elections, campaigns are public. In the organization meeting (caucus election) campaigning is conducted privately between legislators. It consists of campaigning for election to Speaker of the House, Majority Leader, Rules Chair, the two Finance Committee Co-Chairs (one for the operating budget, One for the capital budget.), and committee chairmanships.
We ask for “commitments” (promised votes) for the leadership position we seek. You might guess that there’s some “if you commit for this, I’ll commit to that.” What “happens in the organization meeting stays in the organizational meeting.” Or is supposed to stay there. Suffice to say, I was re-elected as Chair of our House State Affairs Committee. I thank my colleagues for that.
You likely have read in the newspaper, or have seen on TV, or heard political gossip, about what happened in our majority caucus organizational meeting that was held in Wasilla on the Friday and Saturday after the general election. Most - but not all – that has been reported in the media happened. Suffice to say, I voted my commitments, and voted with the majority of my caucus (because I thought it was the appropriate things to do) on who ended getting what in leadership, and other positions up for a vote. I can tell you this: out of the four organizational meetings in which I’ve been involved, this was by far the most “interesting.”
For most legislators, and for me, being in a organizational position to best serve constituents is more important than getting chairmanship or membership of a particular committee to serve ourselves.