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Merrin backer talks about potential of 'third caucus' after vote for Ohio House speaker

Merrin speaks to Republicans in meeing.jpg
Andy Chow
Statehouse News Bureau
Rep. Derek Merrin (R-Monclova) speaks to the supporters he invited to a closed-door meeting on January 11, 2022. The meeting was held to discuss strategy after Merrin lost the vote for speaker to Rep. Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) the week before.

The 42 Republicans who supported the bid by Rep. Derek Merrin (R-Monclova) to be Ohio House speaker met privately to plan their next steps, after Merrin lost the speakership to Rep. Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) last week.

Though Merrin had won a closed-door vote among Republicans for speaker after the November election, 22 Republicans voted for Stephens, along with all 32 Democrats.

Western Ohio pastor and Rep. Gary Click (R-Vickery), who was just elected to his second term in the House, described the meeting as a “family conference."

But he admitted he doesn’t know if this is the beginning of a third caucus to oppose the Democrats and the Stephens Republicans.

“People have been wondering, is there going to be a coup against the coup? And there's not," Click said in an interview for "The State of Ohio." "I've said oftentimes, you know, you have to work with what you have instead of what you wish you had or what you think you deserve or even what you ought to have. So this is what we have.”

In the interview, Click admitted he hadn't been referring to Stephens as the speaker, but that changed after the meeting.

“Quite honestly, I'm not calling Speaker Stephens before because I feel like it was illegitimately done," Click said. "But, you know, Derek set the pace today. He called him Speaker Stephens, so I'll call him Speaker Stephens.”

Click said the group isn’t trying to be obstructionists, but wants to make sure the Stephens supporters and Democrats won’t obstruct their goals — which include passing a resolution to require 60% voter approval for all constitutional amendments.

Lawmakers need to approve that by Feb. 1 to get it onto the May ballot.

Contact Karen at 614-578-6375 or at
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