Determined to end seven weeks of bitter Republican infighting, Rep. Kirk Schuring says all House members have until 5 p.m. Friday to tell him how to proceed next week on deciding who will lead the chamber.
That is the deadline the Canton Republican is giving members, Democrats included, to tell him whether next week's House session will either be a vote to pick a new speaker, or a vote to change the rules in a way that allows Schuring to continue to run the House through the end of the year as speaker pro tempore.
“Whichever gets the most votes by 5 p.m. on Friday, that's the one we're going to go with,” Schuring said. “We as a House need to come together.”
The goal is to end the impasse that has left the House without a speaker since April 11, when Speaker Cliff Rosenberger abruptly resigned amid an FBI investigation into his overseas trips and other perks of the job that he utilized.
“I think it's a fair plan. It gets us off dead center,” said Schuring, who said session will occur on Wednesday, June 6. “I want to involve Democrats because they need to be a part of this too. Democrats say this is purely a Republican problem, but they need to be responsible too and get us back to the order of business.”
Rep. Ryan Smith, R-Bidwell, has the support of a majority of the Republican caucus to be speaker, but he doesn't have 50 votes. Schuring has previously stressed that he wanted the winner to have 50 GOP votes.
Schuring, referring to “too many cooks,” said he has not run the plan by Ohio Republican Party Chairman Jane Timken, who has been trying to broker a deal between Smith and Rep. Larry Householder, R-Glenford. The two have been chief rivals to take the speaker's chair starting in 2019, which, prior to Rosenberger's resignation, was going to be when the office came open.
“This solution will get us to the point one way or another,” Schuring said.
Schuring, who is running for a Senate seat, had said he was not interested in running the House. But, if the chamber decides to go that direction, he said he will handle the legislative body, but will not be involved in running OHROC, the the more than $4 million House GOP campaign committee.
If the House chooses to elect a new speaker, Smith, Rep. Andy Thompson, R-Marietta, and Minority Leader Fred Strahorn, D-Dayton, would be the likely nominees. If no candidate has 50 votes, the House would vote 10 times. On the 11th vote, the nominee with a plurality would win.