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House Democrats Vow To Support Own Candidate For Ohio Speaker

Ohio House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn
Andy Chow
Ohio Public Radio
Ohio House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn

After seven weeks without voting sessions, the full Ohio House will vote on Wednesday on a new Speaker.

And because no candidate secured 50 votes among the 65-member Republican caucus, votes from Democrats could be important. But most Democrats say they won’t help out any Republican candidate.

Traditionally the majority’s pick for Speaker is voted in unanimously. But several Democrats say they’ll vote for their own Minority Leader Fred Strahorn.

Rep. Dan Ramos said he wants to vote for someone and it’s not a protest, and it’s not fair for Republicans to call Democrats obstructionists.

“They have, frankly, bent the rules of fairness and democracy to make themselves a 2-1 majority in a 50-50 state, and even with that many members, they can’t seem to come up with 50 votes," Ramos said. "That’s dysfunction within their own caucus and there’s no other way to put that."

Democrat state Rep. Bernadine Kennedy Kent has said she’ll vote for Republican and Finance Chair Ryan Smith, who led Andy Thompson in the last caucus vote. Smith has said Thompson is a proxy for Larry Householder, who is Smith’s competition in next year’s Speaker’s race.