Nelson says he didn’t skip Gosch vote intentionally

During the unanimous vote Tuesday to elect Rep. Brian Gosch as Speaker of the House, Rep. Stace Nelson was notably absent.

It’s notable because Nelson has been one of the most outspoken critics of Gosch over the past two years, criticizing him in some very harsh terms. Then Nelson showed up and was in his seat for the State of the State speech.

Did Nelson intentionally skip the vote to elect Gosch, by way of protest? (Sen. Stan Adelstein did a similar thing with the appropriations bill two years ago, stepping out of the room for the vote because he couldn’t support it but didn’t want to vote against it.)

I ran into him in the Capitol hallways today, and Nelson said it wasn’t deliberate.

He was, he said, on the road to Pierre at the time due to a mistaken understanding about when things got started Tuesday.

Though Nelson had gone through the first day of session two years ago in his first term, he said he forgot the leadership elections happened before the State of the State, which he had timed his trip to make.

But would Nelson have voted for Gosch as Speaker had he made it on time?

To that question, Nelson said he would prefer not to speculate.