Plans for Shane Wilkin’s swearing-in ceremony were still uncertain late Tuesday, as the Ohio House of Representatives wrestled with procedural issues throughout the day.
Wilkin was tentatively scheduled to be sworn-in as the new state representative from the 91st House District at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. But those plans were uncertain as Tuesday dragged on.
Wilkin spent Tuesday in Columbus. He said he still planned to return to Hillsboro to preside over a county commission meeting Wednesday morning, which might be his last if he is sworn into office in Columbus later Wednesday.
Wilkin last week defeated Beth Ellis in the GOP primary, and because of the resignation of Cliff Rosenberger — the speaker of the House who represented the 91st District — the winner of that primary is being seated immediately to fill the remainder of Rosenberger’s term this year. Wilkin will run in the November election against Democratic candidate Justin Grimes.
Wilkin said he had hoped that Highland County Probate and Juvenile Judge Kevin Greer could be on hand to administer the oath, but Greer has three hearings Wednesday and cannot break away. Wilkin wasn’t sure who would do the honors.
Also of interest will be an upcoming battle to be the new speaker of the Ohio House in a matchup featuring state Rep. Larry Householder and state Rep. Ryan Smith. House Republicans were meeting Tuesday to nominate a new speaker, but as of late Tuesday neither Householder nor Smith had secured the necessary votes. In lieu of that, a temporary presiding officer would need to be chosen.
Wilkin’s campaign was supported by forces aligned with Householder, while Ellis was backed by the Ohio Republican Organizational Committee (OHROC), controlled by Smith after Rosenberger’s resignation.
The Columbus Dispatch reported last week, “In the 11 open primary races in which OHROC spent time and/or money supporting a candidate, the Householder-backed opposing candidate won or is leading in 10 of them…”
The newspaper added that Householder’s supporters “have said that, all told, up to 20 Republican candidates who won Tuesday are on his side. Some people question that number, but regardless, Householder had a good day.”
As president of the Highland County Board of Commissioners, Wilkin would be overseeing his last meeting Wednesday if he is set to be seated as a state representative later that day. County GOP officials were making plans to appoint a replacement for Wilkin on the commission, but before they could begin accepting applications or conducting interviews they needed Wilkin’s resignation to be official.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456, or follow on Twitter @AbernathyGary.