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Rep. Ginter building respect at Statehouse

LISBON — Never during his five-plus years in office did state Rep. Tim Ginter ever think he would be a candidate for Speaker of the House.

But that is what happened in the run-up to last week’s historic vote by lawmakers to remove state Rep. Larry Householder as House Speaker and replace him with state Rep. Bob Cupp.

Ginter, R-Salem, said he agreed to put his name in the running after being approached by some of his colleagues who asked him to consider replacing Householder, who was indicted Thursday as part of an alleged $60 million bribery scheme.

“At first I didn’t take it seriously, but as more people contacted me I started giving it serious thought,” he said. “I was very flattered they would consider me for speaker.”

Republican leadership whittled the list of potential replacements down to Cupp, Ginter , Rick Carfagna and Craig Reidel. Speaker Pro Tempore Rep. Jim Butler, Householder’s No. 2, was also a contender. Ginter, Carfagna and Reidel withdrew and threw their support to Cupp, a former Ohio Supreme Court justice.

Ginter said he did not have the votes to win, so supporting Cupp was a no-brainer, describing him as an outstanding choice.

“He has impeccable integrity and is an honorable man,” he said.

Both were elected in 2014 and their offices have been across from each other ever since.

“We’ve become close friends, and I called Bob when I entered the race … and I told him whatever the outcome we would remain friends, and he agreed.”

Ginter was disappointed that House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes, D-Akron, took such a dim view of Cupp’s appointment. Every Democratic House member voted against Cupp, with Sykes saying, “We don’t trust any of them.”

“There’s no reason for anyone on either side of the aisle to (question) the integrity of Bob Cupp,” he said.

Ginter supported Householder’s opponent for speaker in 2019, but Sykes and a number of other Democrats voted for Householder, providing the margin of victory.

Ginter also voted against House Bill 6, the legislation at the center of the bribery scandal. Championed by Householder, the bill provided a taxpayer bailout Ohio’s ailing nuclear power plants. Ginter is one of the co-sponsors of legislation seeking to repeal HB 6.

“Ohio citizens place their trust in elected officials to represent them with integrity and honesty. To violate the trust strikes at the heart of the very foundation of our democracy,” he said, in a Facebook post.

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