The Oklahoma House of Representatives voted Wednesday to elect its new speaker Monday — defeating a confrontational effort by Rep. Mike Reynolds to force an immediate vote on the selection of a successor to Rep. T.W. Shannon.
Shannon, R-Lawton, announced Tuesday he was stepping aside as speaker to run for the U.S. Senate. He will continue to serve as a representative.
A two-way race has developed to succeed him between Republican state Reps. Jeff Hickman, of Dacoma, and Mike Jackson, of Enid.
State Rep. Jason Nelson, of Oklahoma City, was initially in the race as well, but he announced Wednesday that he was dropping out because he didn't think he had enough votes.
“We're all friends, which made the whole process miserable, anyway,” Nelson said.
Nelson said he has talked with both remaining candidates, but has not made a decision on whether to endorse one or the other.
Jackson was the No. 2 ranking leader of the House and was automatically elevated to acting speaker following Shannon's decision to step down.
Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, stirred things up Wednesday by attempting to force an immediate vote on a new speaker and accusing Jackson of postponing the election because he didn't have enough votes to win.
“There is no excuse for not having the election right now, unless of course you're sitting in the chair and you don't think you're going to be able to get the votes to get elected,” Reynolds said. “It gives you more time.