COLUMBUS, Ohio — A divided Ohio House has chosen state Rep. Larry Householder as speaker, ending a months-long, contentious fight over the leadership position.
Householder was elected House speaker Monday for the second time in his career. The Republican from Perry County received 52 votes to edge out GOP state Rep. Ryan Smith, of Gallia County. A 50-vote majority was needed for election. Smith received 45 votes in the initial voting on Monday.
Smith was selected in June to fill the leadership position left vacant in the last legislative session when Speaker Cliff Rosenberger resigned in March amid an FBI probe.
In nominating Smith for the continued speakership, Rep. Sarah Latourette (R-Bainbridge Twp.) said Smith has earned the respect of his peers by his work in the house.
She added that when not working in Columbus he is back home spending time with his family.
“His love for his wife Vicki, his four children and his community shines through in all the work he does here,” said Latourette.
In seconding the nomination, Rep. Timothy Ginther (R-Salem) added that Ryan Smith “is the person who can and should lead this House in the 133rd General Assembly.”
Householder was elected on the first day of the new two-year legislative session. Republicans hold majorities in Ohio’s House and Senate.
Householder was nominated by Rep. Scott Oelslager (R-North Canton), with a second from Rep. James Butler (R-Oakwood).
Each representative, 99 in total, is asked to cast their vote for one person for Speaker of the House. Rep. Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville), who represents Meigs County as part of the 94th District, voted for Householder.
Smith began his career in politics after running for the Gallipolis City School Board in 2007. In 2011, Representative John Carey resigned before Smith would announce his candidacy for the 2012 election. Smith would win the 2012 election and again in 2014 and 2016. Smith was elected the Ohio Speaker of the House in June last year and re-elected as a representative in November 2018.
Republican Larry Obhof, of Medina, easily won re-election as president of the Senate on Monday.
The Associated Press, The Daily Sentinel Managing Editor Sarah Hawley and Gallipolis Daily Tribune reporter Dean Wright contributed to this report.