House Republicans showed their confidence in House Speaker Chris Benge by again selecting him to serve in the top post for the next two years.
Because Republicans control the House, 61 to 40, it’s nearly certain Benge will win the post when legislators meet Jan. 6 to organize.
Benge, R-Tulsa, was named speaker designate during a meeting of the House Republican caucus. Rep. Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, his only opponent, withdrew.
"It was a very nice gesture,” Benge said. "It was a showing of statesmanship and one that recognizes that we need to be unified and ready to get down and get to work.”
Benge’s unanimous approval as speaker is a contrast to his first election to the post in February. Then, House Republicans elected Benge as speaker designate by a close margin just hours before the start of this year’s legislative session. A new speaker had to be elected after Rep. Lance Cargill, R-Harrah, stepped down in January because of tax problems.
House members of both parties elected Benge by acclamation after Democratic leader Rep. Danny Morgan of Prague, withdrew from consideration.
Of the 58 House seats decided in Tuesday’s election, Republicans won 42, giving Republicans 61 – the most in state history.
Benge said he hopes to name leadership positions, such as floor leader, next week. Committee chairmen should be named by early December.