Cupp Elected Third Ohio House Speaker In Two Years

Jul 30, 2020

The Ohio House has its third speaker in two years, as lawmakers ousted Larry Householder (R-Glenford) as speaker for his role in an alleged bribery scheme related to last year’s nuclear bailout law.

Less than an hour after the official indictment of Householder on a federal racketeering charge was unsealed, he was stripped of his leadership.

Republicans then spent part of the afternoon deciding between speaker pro tem Jim Butler (R-Oakwood), who is term limited, and three term representative Bob Cupp (R-Lima). The majority settled on Cupp, a former Ohio Supreme Court Justice who wasn’t a supporter of Householder for speaker.

Cupp said he knows there’s work to do to restore trust in the House.

“We're going to operate above board. We're going to make sure that all our members understand or have an opportunity to inquire about legislation that that comes. And hopefully people could set a good example that way," Cupp said.

Cupp got no votes from Democrats, who said in a statement: “We don’t trust any of them."

Cupp suggested this was election year politics and said he will try to work across the aisle.

Householder has not resigned his seat. Democrats were also angry that Republicans didn’t move to expel Householder completely from the chamber. But Cupp noted Householder is running unopposed for his seat this fall.

In the Constitution that says an individual can be removed once but not twice. And as you know, he is on the ballot unopposed. So I think maybe we don't want to use all of our options at one time," Cupp said.

The vote for Cupp among Republicans wasn’t unanimous.

Three voted against him, and three Republicans didn’t vote – including Householder, who wasn’t there.

Cupp said one of his first priorities will be a repeal of the nuclear bailout bill, which several lawmakers are drafting and Gov. Mike DeWine said he supports because he feels the process to create the law was tainted.

The vote comes more than two years after Republican Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) was elected in a marathon eleven rounds of splintered Republican voting following the resignation of Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville), who quit while under an FBI investigation related to payday lending legislation but no charges were ever filed. Smith left the House last year and is now the president at University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College.

That set off a months-long battle that ended when Householder defeated Smith for speaker in January 2019 with an evenly split coalition of Republicans and Democrats.