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The Latest: Democrat calls GOP speaker win ‘unremarkable’

June 6, 2018

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Latest on the race for Ohio House speaker (all times local):

6 p.m.

An Ohio House Democrat is drawing attention to the new Republican speaker’s lack of a majority vote.

In a statement, Rep. David Leland, of Columbus, calls Speaker Ryan Smith’s 44-vote victory after 11 rounds of voting Wednesday “unremarkable.” The House has 99 members.

Leland says it proves “the dark cloud of Republican scandal and FBI investigation still hangs heavy over the Ohio House.”

The House vote for Smith ended a weeks-long impasse. The chamber hasn’t passed any bills since a day after then-Speaker Cliff Rosenberger resigned in April amid an FBI probe.

In his acceptance speech, Smith says he was “fully aware” that divisions exist in the country, state and, in some cases, political parties. He says lawmakers are going to disagree, but they should do so while displaying “dignity, common decency and respect.”

4 p.m.

The Ohio House has picked former Speaker Cliff Rosenberger’s chosen successor as their leader through the end of the year.

Finance Chairman Ryan Smith, of Gallia (GAL’-yuh) County, won the competition Wednesday, ending a weekslong impasse. He didn’t receive a majority, but had more votes than any other candidate during the 11th round of voting, which gave him the win.

Lawmakers supported Smith over Democratic Minority Leader Fred Strahorn, of Dayton, and a surprise entrant, Republican Jim Hughes, of suburban Columbus. He also beat out conservative Republican Andy Thompson, the candidate initially favored by former Speaker Larry Householder.

Thompson supporters pitched him as a neutral placeholder who could restore normalcy and integrity to the chamber after Rosenberger’s resignation in April amid an FBI inquiry. Rosenberger has denied any wrongdoing. Most Democrats supported Strahorn.

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This item has been corrected to reflect that Rosenberger resigned in April, not last month.

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2:30 p.m.

Voting is underway in the Ohio House to determine who will replace former Republican Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, who resigned amid an FBI probe.

During two initial rounds of voting, Finance Chairman Ryan Smith, of Gallia (GAL’-yuh) County led the race but failed to receive the required majority to win the speakership.

House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn, of Dayton, received the second-highest total, winning 28 Democratic votes. Three Democrats voted for Smith.

Republican Rep. Andy Thompson, of Marietta, received support from a vocal conservative faction that included former House Speaker Larry Householder. A new candidate, Republican Rep. Jim Hughes, of Columbus, won a small number of votes.

Rosenberger resigned in April amid an FBI inquiry believed to center on his international travel and lavish lifestyle. He says he’s broken no laws.

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12:07 a.m.

The paralyzed Ohio House is ready to vote on a new speaker.

Republican Rep. Kirk Schuring, acting House leader, has called a vote Wednesday. The vote follows weeks of stalemate during which GOP representatives failed to agree on a successor to former Republican Speaker Cliff Rosenberger. Rosenberger resigned in April amid an FBI investigation.

House Finance Chairman Ryan Smith, a Gallia (GAL’-yuh) County Republican, is the leading speaker candidate. A faction led by former Speaker Larry Householder opposes Smith in favor of term-limited Rep. Andy Thompson, of Marietta.

Householder aspires to be speaker next year, as does Smith. Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn also is running.

If no candidate wins a majority of those present after 10 rounds of voting, the one with the most votes on the 11th vote wins.

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This item has been corrected to reflect that Rosenberger resigned in April, not last month.

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