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Published: Tuesday, November 18, 2014 @ 6:24 PM
Updated: Tuesday, November 18, 2014 @ 6:24 PM
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COLUMBUS — Democrats in the Ohio House of Representatives picked longtime Dayton lawmaker Fred Strahorn to lead the party in the House next year.
Strahorn edged out state Rep.-elect David Leland, the former chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, for the leadership post. Leland withdrew his name from contention.
Strahorn will replace Heard, who is term limited out at the end of this year. He will oversee the smallest Democratic caucus — 34 lawmakers — since 1967 when the House went to 99 seats.
Joining Strahorn in the House Minority leadership team are state Reps. Nick Celebrezze of Parma, Nickie Antonio of Lakewood and Kevin Boyce of Columbus. Boyce served two years as state treasurer before losing the post to Republican Josh Mandel in 2010.
Strahorn has served in the Ohio House and Senate off and on since 2001 and has worked for the Ohio Democratic Party, state lawmakers and Ohio United Way, managed rental properties and sold real estate, according to his Ohio House biography.
Stahorn previously served as a state representative from 2001-2007. He was appointed to represent the 5th District in the Ohio Senate in 2009 after Tom Roberts retired. Strahorn lost the Senate seat to then-Tipp City Councilman Bill Beagle in the Republican wave election of 2010. Strahorn returned to the Ohio House in 2012 after he was chosen to replace former state Rep. Clayton Luckie who withdrew from the ballot while he was facing criminal charges.
Strahorn did not return telephone and text messages Tuesday seeking comment.
Earlier this month, Strahorn was overwhelmingly re-elected to represent Dayton’s 39th House district. He won 77 percent of the vote in the heavily Democratic Dayton district. Republican Jeffrey Dalton received 18.5 percent of the vote and William Pace won 4 percent of the vote.
After the Democratic Party losses on Election Day statewide, Strahorn said the party must work on its message.