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Rosenberger's Resignation Has Lawmakers Lining Up To Be Next Ohio House Speaker

Rep. Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell, left) and Rep. Larry Householder (R-Glenford)
Rep. Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell, left) and Rep. Larry Householder (R-Glenford) are two of the leading contenders to be the next speaker of the Ohio House.

The sudden resignation of House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger – after reports the FBI is looking into his travel records – has left the top leadership role in the Ohio House up for grabs. Already, lawmakers who want the job are lining up.

Speaker Pro Tem Kirk Schuring said the 65-member Republican caucus is still discussing when a vote will be held for a new speaker, who would serve through the end of this year. But House Finance Committee Chairman Ryan Smith says when it happens, he’s ready.

“I think if there’s a speaker’s election in the near future, I’m confident I have the votes," Smith says.

Smith and former speaker Larry Householder have been angling to hold the position next year, since it would be open because Rosenberger was term-limited. Smith and Householder are both up for re-election but considered likely to win.

Among the representatives who won’t be coming back but are said to be interested in the short-term speaker’s job is Dorothy Pelanda, but she won’t talk about it.

“No comment at this time," Pelanda says.

Calls to Householder were not returned.

Meanwhile, Rosenberger's vacant House seat will be held for the remainder of the year by the winner of a Republican primary. The 91st District in southwest Ohio will remain open until May's faceoff between Highland County commissioner Shane Wilkin and Clinton County businesswoman Beth Ellis. The winner faces Democrat Justin Grimes in November.

House spokesperson Brad Miller says waiting for the primary wasn't ideal but lawmakers determined it was fairest to both candidates.