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Government & Politics

Leadership of Ohio House Is Still Up In the Air

A photo of House Speaker Ryan Smith, Republican, Bidwell.
Ohio House Speaker Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell)

As Ohio lawmakers prepare for the next general assembly to begin in January, House leadership is still up in the air, with two candidates who still both want to be speaker.  

Speaker Ryan Smith is calling for Republicans to take an informal vote for the next speaker now. Smith was named speaker in June after defeating former Speaker Larry Householder in 11 rounds of voting.

Householder was hoping candidates he backed would elect him for the new general assembly but many lost in November. Rep. Jim Butler, who supports Householder, is the caucus dean and it’s up to him to call for the speaker vote. In written statements Butler says he doesn’t think either candidate has a majority. So Butler wants both to talk it out with him to “determine a unified path forward.” 

But Smith says, in a statement, that Butler’s tactics are preventing the caucus from coming together. Smith agrees caucus affairs should stay private. But he says he “will not take part in any sort of private, back-room negotiation.”