TOPEKA – Members of the House of Representatives are choosing their leaders for the next two years today.
House Speaker Mike O’Neal was re-elected for another two years on a unanimous voice vote. The Hutchinson Republican ran unopposed.
House Republicans are currently (at noon) tallying the votes in a five-way race for Speaker Pro Tem between representatives Anthony Brown of Eudora, Larry Powell of Garden City, Jene Vickrey of Louisburg, Virgil Peck of Tyro and Scott Schwab of Olathe.
The process has to go through multiple rounds of voting with the lowest vote-getter dropping off each round until the vote is between two candidates.
After about an hour of voting, Vickrey beat Brown on a narrow vote of 47-43.
The five candidates were running to replace Rep. Arlen Siegfreid, R-Olathe, who was the prior Speaker Pro Tem.
Siegfreid beat Rep. Richard Carlson, R-St. Marys, 54-36 to become the House Republican Leader.
Republicans later today will also elect Assistant Majority Leaders and their Caucus leader.
The Democrats are holding similar elections in the old Supreme Court Room.
This is the first vote for all of the freshmen lawmakers elected last month.