Concealed-carry reform and the post-Householder outlook

The election of the speaker of the Ohio House is 17 months away, but several state legislators have already begun meeting with fellow Republican House members seeking their support for a run at the seat. Each of the potential speaker candidates who have stepped forward thus far are 2002 OFCC PAC Endorsees.

Current Speaker Larry Householder cannot run for re-election next year because of the state's term limits law, leaving the seat vacant beginning January 2005.

Rep. Charles Blasdel, of East Liverpool, R-1st, said he has spoken to several Republican House members and will continue to do so in the coming weeks to gauge interest in his candidacy.

"I think my chances are as good as any others being mentioned for speaker," Blasdel said. "I'm traveling around and talking to members, and making myself available for those who want to talk. There is a lot of interest in me pursuing this endeavor."

The other House Republicans most mentioned as being interested in the
speaker's seat are: state Reps. Timothy Grendell of Chesterland, R-98th; Jon
Husted of Kettering, R-32nd; Tom Raga of Mason, R-67th, and Stephen Buehrer of Delta, R-74th, the assistant majority floor leader.

The strongest candidates for the House speaker's job are those who have raised a lot of money for the party, are running for re-election next year for a safe seat, and someone who has built strong relationships with members of the Republican caucus, said Rick Farmer, a University of Akron assistant professor of political science and a fellow at the university's Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics.

Grendell, who represents Geauga County and a portion of Cuyahoga County, said he will decide by the end of the month whether he will seek re-election to the House.

His decision will largely be based on his wife's political future. Diane Grendell, a judge on the Warren-based 11th District Court of Appeals, is considering a run next year for a seat on the Ohio Supreme Court.

If she runs for the top court, Grendell said he would run for re-election to the House or to the state Senate — for a seat being vacated by Robert A. Gardner of Madison, R-18th, because of the state's term limits law — so they could be together in Columbus. State Rep. Jamie Callender of Willowick, R-62nd, plans to run for Gardner's seat next year.

Grendell is also considering running for a Geauga County Common Pleas Court seat.

Grendell, a leader of the House Republican's conservative wing, said he sees himself as the favorite to be elected speaker if he chooses to run for the job. Grendell, who represented northern Trumbull County in 2000 and 2001 before House districts were realigned, said he has the support of 17 to 21 current House Republican members, who are also conservatives.

"If I could be speaker of the House, I'd like that opportunity," Grendell said. "But if it wouldn't be me, Chuck [Blasdel] would be someone I could support."

Republicans control the Ohio House 62-37 and are expected to maintain that control after next year's election.

Click here to read the entire story in the Youngstown Vindicator.

Click here to read a related story in the Dayton Daily News.

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