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Ohio House Speaker Race Down To Two Candidates

Former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder
Paul Vernon
Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder

With a vote set Thursday to remove House Speaker Larry Householder, just two candidates remain in the race to replace him as leader. However, there’s apparently a disagreement among Republicans on how that can happen.

Late on Wednesday, three of the Republicans who said they would like to succeed Householder dropped their bids and endorsed state Rep. Bob Cupp (R-Lima).

With state Reps. Rick Carfagna (R-Genoa Township), Craig Riedel (R-Defiance) and Tim Ginter (R-Salem) dropping out of the race, that just leaves Cupp and speaker pro tempore Jim Butler (R-Oakwood) vying to become the next House Speaker.

Butler is term-limited, while Cupp is running for reelection this November. 

House Republicans say their rules indicate a simple majority of 50 votes can remove Householder as speaker, though all members of the chamber can speak and vote on the motion to remove Householder.

But in a memo obtained by the Ohio Public Radio Statehouse News Bureau, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said while the federal allegations against Householder have him "aghast," the state's constitution apparently requires a speaker’s removal with a law passed by the House and Senate and signed by the governor.

Yost also said it’s unclear whether the House can be called into session unless the speaker does it, something he tweeted about a few days ago. Yost said Gov. Mike DeWine has the authority to call the House into session, which he has said he will do if necessary.

Both Yost and DeWine called on Householder to resign soon after his arrest.