After two months of impasse, the Ohio House has a new leader.
In an unprecedented process, Republican Finance Chair Ryan Smith was elected speaker after 11 rounds of voting on the House floor. Under Ohio law, a candidate must have a majority of the 99 House members to win -- until the 11th round. Smith ended up with 44 votes.
“I wasn’t sure if we’d go through 11 rounds of voting to get the plurality, but I knew if we did, I’d get there.”
Minority leader Fred Strahorn commanded most of the votes from Democrats -- who make up just a third of the House -- throughout the process. He ended up with 27 votes.
“Hearing my name 308 times was a little disturbing and the process was a lot like watching grass grow.”
Smith has called for unity among all representatives, and he says he wants to immediately get back to work considering bills, including one that cracks down on payday lenders and another that funds new voting machines.