Ohio House Speaker Jason Stephens removes six Republicans from the committees they chaired – Mercer County Outlook

(5-2-24) The political wars in Ohio are heating up, not between the two parties, but between two Republicans.

Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) is running unopposed for the House of Representatives and is expected to challenge current House Speaker Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) for the speaker's post in January. Stephens is also running unopposed.

Huffman donated to the primary campaigns of some Republicans running against Stephens' allies.

It all started yesterday…Stephens removed six Republicans from the committees they chaired.

All six voted for Rep. Derek Merrin (R-Monclova Twp.) for speaker in January 2023 and donated to the primary campaigns of incumbent Republicans, some of whom supported Stephens for speaker.

Stephens was elected with the votes of 22 Republicans and all 32 Democrats. Merrin had the votes of 43 Republicans.

In one memo Stephens announced to House members on Wednesday:

  • Rep. Rodney Creech (R-West Alexandria) removed as chairman and member of the House Agriculture Committee;
  • Rep. Phil Plummer (R-Dayton) removed as chairman and member of the House Constitutional Resolution Committee;
  • Rep. Darrell Kick (R-Loudonville) removed as chairman and member of the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee;
  • Rep. Adam Bird (R-New Richmond) removed as chairman and member of the House Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education;
  • Rep. Scott Lipps (R-Franklin) removed as chairman and member of the House Public Health Policy Committee; And
  • Rep. Marilyn John (R-Richland County) was removed as chairman and member of the House State and Local Government Committee.

The memo adds:

“The chair and first named member of each committee listed above shall remain vacant until further action is taken by the Speaker. These changes are effective immediately.”

“I was very supportive of the Republicans in the caucus. We have not taken action against the incumbents as we promised,” Stephens told reporters. “However, there were several Republicans who felt their contributions should be spent to benefit our incumbent members.”

Campaign finance records show more than $1 million was spent in the Ohio House Republican Alliance (OHRA) account in the final days of the March primary. Stephens spent about half of that on the campaigns of incumbent Republicans who supported him as speaker.

But four of his supporters lost their primaries: Reps. Sara Carruthers (R-Hamilton), Reps. Jon Cross (R-Findlay), Brett Hillyer (R-Urichsville) and Gail Pavliga (R-Atwater).

Stephens' spokesman said in a text about the removal of members from committees:

“The speaker worked to unite the caucus and they did exactly what they accused him of doing.”

A lawsuit over control of the OHRA campaign account filed by Merrin, Plummer and Rep. Ron Ferguson (R-Wintersville) is scheduled to be heard Oct. 21 in Franklin County Common Pleas Court. A request to stop Stephens from spending funds from that account was denied in February.

Sound familiar?

A floor vote to remove House Speaker Mike Johnson (R) could happen…but…

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries, Democratic Caucus Chairman Katherine Clark and Democratic Caucus Chairman Pete Aguilar said in a statement Tuesday after their House Democratic Caucus meeting.

“We will vote to table Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s motion to vacate the presidency. If she invokes the application, it will not be successful.”

Although Republicans have the majority in both of these houses, Democrats have decided the leadership.

Anna Harden

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