House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn will step down from his post leading the 38-member Democratic caucus at the end of January but will remain in the Legislature.
Strahorn, D-Dayton, said he is proud that Democrats gained five seats in the Ohio House.
“My decision to step down is bittersweet, but it is made sweeter knowing that I will have more time to spend with my loved ones and more time to focus on the issues that are personally important to me. I thank all the members for their trust in me over the last four years, and I look forward to this next chapter, both for myself and for the Ohio House of Representatives,” Strahorn said in a written statement.
Strahorn’s 38-member caucus split this week over who to back for House speaker. Instead of sticking as a block behind Strahorn, 26 Dems voted for Republican Larry Householder, who won the post, and a dozen voted for Republican Ryan Smith, who held the job for the past six months.
Strahorn, D-Dayton, withdrew his own name from the speaker’s race and voted for Smith.
Strahorn said he didn’t want to act as a spoiler for either Republican and he didn’t see any cause for removing Smith from the speaker’s seat.
In his written statement, Strahorn called Smith a man of principled integrity.
Strahorn, 53, has represented the area in the Legislature for 16 of the past 18 years and he is the only Democrat in the Miami Valley delegation. He has been minority leader since 2014.
The minority leader post carries a modest amount of power: name members to committees, negotiate deals with the GOP-majority, and help fundraise and elect more Democrats.
Strahorn received 80 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary for his seat last year and was unopposed in the general election. His district covers most of the city of Dayton and Jefferson Twp.