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Who controls the purse strings?

New Ohio House Speaker Jason Stephens
Ohio House

The leadership squabble between Republicans in the Ohio House has continued in private caucus rooms, on the House floor, and may now head to a courtroom.

On this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, hosts Mike Thompson and Steve Brown discuss the debate on who should control the campaign funds for the House GOP.


The state of our nation is strong. That’s what President Biden declared more than an hour into his State of the Union Address.

According to the President. It's because of all the government spending he’s gotten passed in the past two years. The spending includes huge subsidies for computer chip company Intel, which is building a factory complex in New Albany.

Biden also pointed to money set aside to fix and replace the Brent Spence Bridge connecting Ohio and Kentucky as an illustration of his administration's infrastructure spending.

But the most memorable part of the speech was when the president was jeered for suggesting some Republicans support cutting Social Security and Medicare to help balance the federal deficit. Republicans cried foul. The President gave as good as he got.

A Rift in the GOP

The Republican Caucus campaign account, which helps members win and retain their seats, is the source of the most recent beef among House Republicans.

Usually this is not an issue. The party elects its speaker. The speaker controls the Ohio House Republican Alliance. It has millions of dollars in it for election spending.

House Speaker Jason Stephens says he runs the account. Jilted would-be Speaker Derrick Merrin and his supporter State Rep. Phill Plummer says they should run the account because a majority of House Republicans want them to run the caucus.

Merrin may have a case. Apparently there is nothing in state law that says the speaker should run the account. It’s up to the members of the caucus. And right now, a majority of the caucus supports Derrick Merrin.

Snollygoster of the week

Faced with high inflation and polls showing even Democrats think he’s too old to run again, President Biden produced a stem-winder of a State of the Union. He successfully baited some Republicans. They took the bait, and in the process hurt their bargaining position in the negotiations over raising the debt ceiling.

If you have a suggestion for our "Snollygoster of the Week" award, a question or a comment, send them to snollygoster@wosu.org.