Rosenberger, a Clinton County Republican, resigned in April after saying he believes himself to be under federal investigation. One thing said to interest federal sleuths is a junket to London that Rosenberger took. Among those on the trip were payday loan lobbyists. Small world, the Statehouse is.
Here’s the big problem: To become speaker, someone has to get 50 House votes. But some House Republicans (say, just-under 50) support Rep. Ryan Smith, of Gallia County’s Bidwell. Other House Republicans support ex-Speaker Larry Householder, of Perry County’s Glenford.
Almost every Republican candidate Householder backed for open House seats in May 8’s primary election won and likely, those nominees will win those seats in November. Soon after that, the House’s 2019-2020 members will have to elect a full-term speaker. That is, electing Smith now, for the rest of 2018, could give Smith a leg-up on the 2019-2020 speakership. That’s why Team Householder seems to prefer a lame-duck, six-month speaker.
True, House Democrats could provide enough votes to help one Republican faction or the other get to 50 votes, but that doesn’t seem likely. Besides, they’re probably enjoying the show.
An Ohioan’s common-sense question has to be, don’t House rules provide for someone else to stand in when the speakership is temporarily vacant? The answer, evidently, is no.
A few years back, when Medina Republican William G. Batchelder became House speaker, he chose as the House’s back-up rulebook one composed long ago by Wilmington native Edward W. Hughes. Hughes’s guide was used at the Statehouse at least through the 1930s. It was an Ohio tradition. The gentleman from Medina likes tradition. He brought back Hughes’s guide.
Pre-Batchelder, Ohio’s House used a guide called Mason’s; roughly 70 of the nation’s 99 state legislative still do. Some other chambers use Thomas Jefferson’s rules, while three use rules devised in the 1890s by U.S. House Speaker Thomas “Czar” Reed, a Maine Republican.
In any case, the Hughes guide doesn’t provide for a speaker stand-in, say those who know, so no speaker, no voting sessions of the House. What happens next is up to the House’s GOP caucus.