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It Took 11 Rounds for Ohio Republicans to Finally Pick a House Speaker

Photo of Ryan Smith
Rep. Ryan Smith over as House speaker after nearly eight weeks and 11 rounds of voting.

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.”

'The process was a lot like watching grass grow.'

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.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment. Jo started her career in Louisville, Kentucky in the mid 80’s when she helped produce a televised presidential debate for ABC News, worked for a creative services company and served as a general assignment report for a commercial radio station. In 1989, she returned back to her native Ohio to work at the WOSU Stations in Columbus where she began a long resume in public radio.