State Rep. Larry Householder (R-Glenford) has been elected to serve as Ohio House Speaker, defeating incumbent Speaker Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) after months of behind-the-scenes maneuvering. Householder previously served in the role from 2001-2004.
Monday's vote came with a great deal of suspense. Smith initially won the Speakership in June after 11 rounds of voting, defeating a supporter of Householder only after a rule change. He succeeded Cliff Rosenberger, who resigned in April amid an FBI investigation.
Since November’s elections, though, Householder had been working to gain support from fellow Republicans and from Democrats, primarily through unions that had supported Householder for years.
Smith secured an unofficial endorsement from House Republicans in late December, but Householder's supporters debated the vote's legitimacy.
Going into Monday, candidates needed 50 votes to win the Speakership outright. In the first round of voting, Smith garnered just 45 votes to Householder’s 52, half of which came from Democrats.
Republicans hold a majority in the 133rd General Assembly, including a supermajority in the Ohio Senate.
Householder acknowledged in his first remarks as Speaker that he and Smith “have not become the best of friends, to say the least.” But he pledged to work with both Smith and minority leader Fred Strahorn, who took his name out of the running earlier in the day.
Householder also called for the body to hire a dedicated human resources professional. His proposal comes just hours after a Latina legislative aide published claims of sexual harassment and racism by House members.