Democratic Shakeup: Fred Strahorn Resigns As House Minority Leader

Jan 14, 2019

Following the election of state Rep. Larry Householder (R-Glenford) as Ohio House Speaker, the head of Ohio House Democrats says he’s stepping down as minority leader.

State Rep. Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) served in the position for the past four years. But in last Monday's House Speaker election, Strahorn backed Householder's opponent, state Rep. Ryan Smith (R-Gallia).

Strahorn was also running for House Speaker, but dropped out before Monday's vote. He didn't address Householder's election in his Friday announcement, but did thank Smith for "his inclusiveness, leadership and shared commitment to making our state better."

“I don’t take today’s announcement lightly, because I’m proud of the rebuilding and growth Ohio House Democrats have experienced under my leadership," Strahorn wrote. "After a decade of being denied a seat at the table with Republicans, we changed our direction in the legislature by engaging better with the majority on the official side and working overtime on the political side, which resulted in a net gain of five Democratic legislators in the House."

State Rep. Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati) also announced Friday she would step down as House minority whip. Kelly supported Smith in the election as well.

Householder was elected House Speaker last Monday for the second time in his career; he previously served as Speaker from 2001-2004. Householder edged out Smith’s re-election bid with 52 votes, just over the needed 50-vote majority. Half of Householder's votes came from Democrats, who Householder promised to better involve in the legislative process.

State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron), who supported Householder, announced Friday she would run to replace Strahorn as minority leader.

“I want to thank Leader Strahorn for all he has done for the caucus,” Sykes said in a statement. “I plan to seek the Minority Leader position and I look forward to working with members of our caucus.”