In just a few short years, Rep. Birmingham was able to gain sufficient support of the Democratic members of the House to be elected Democratic House Floor Leader in 1929.
Following the decision by Edward J. Kelley of Worcester not to seek a third term as Democratic floor leader, Birmingham, along with William H. Hearn and Joseph Finnegan all of Boston, vied for the position in December 1928, reported the Boston Herald (Dec. 5, 1928, p 26).
Birmingham received 46 votes, and Hearn received 32, the in the second ballot, according to the Boston Globe, Jan. 2, 1929 (p. 14). On the first ballot, Finnegan received 2 votes.
Had the Democrats been in control of the House, Birmingham would have become Speaker of the House. But the Republicans controlled the House during Birmingham’s term in office. He served as Democratic House Floor Leader until 1934.
Leverett Saltonstall, a Republican representative from Newton, was elected Speaker of the House in 1929, a position he held until 1936. Saltonstall would go on to serve as governor of Massachusetts from 1939 to 1945 and a U.S. senator from 1945 to 1967.