Ohio Dem Leader Stepping Down

The Democratic leader in the Ohio House said Tuesday that he’s stepping down from his role before his term ends next year.

State Rep. Armond Budish’s resignation as House minority leader comes as he has expressed interest in becoming the head of the state’s largest county. He is term-limited and can’t run for the House next year.

Budish, of Beachwood, has led House Democrats for five years. He served as the Ohio House speaker for two years after the party won control of the chamber in 2008.

Budish said in a statement Tuesday that he’s resigning to allow for a smoother transition ahead of his departure.

He also told The Plain Dealer newspaper Monday that he has been weighing a bid for Cuyahoga County executive for months. Democratic Executive Ed FitzGerald is challenging Republican Gov. John Kasich in 2014.

“I can’t give a date on when I would announce a run,” Budish said. “I hope sooner rather than later.”

Budish’s resignation is effective Tuesday night, though he’ll continue to serve in the House. The House Democratic caucus planned to meet then to pick its new leadership team.

House Democrats also are losing their assistant minority leader. Rep. Matt Szollosi of Toledo is resigning his seat at the end of the month to become executive director of the Affiliated Construction Trades of Ohio, an industry group funded by union construction workers.

The four-member Democratic leadership team also includes Tracy Maxwell Heard of Columbus and Debbie Phillips of Albany.

Republicans regained power of the House in 2010 and currently hold a 60-39 seat advantage.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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