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Democrats decide Louisiana House speaker as new term begins

Monday's vote spurned Attorney General Jeff Landry’s pick for the job in an acrimonious public feud.
Credit: AP
Newly elected House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, R-Gonzales, speaks after being sworn into the leadership position at the state Capitol in Baton Rouge, La., Monday, Jan. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Brett Duke)

BATON ROUGE, La. — The Louisiana House has elected Republican Clay Schexnayder to be its new House speaker. 

Though Republicans hold the majority in the Louisiana House, it was Democrats who determined the chamber's top job. Democrats voted as a bloc Monday for Schexnayder to be the new House speaker. 

Their support, combined with nearly two dozen Republicans, pushed the car repair business owner from Ascension Parish to a 60-45 victory on the first day of the new legislative term. 

Monday's vote spurned Attorney General Jeff Landry’s pick for the job in an acrimonious public feud as state lawmakers were seated for their new term. Schexnayder defeated Republican Sherman Mack, the Livingston Parish lawmaker favored by Attorney General Jeff Landry, U.S. Sen. John Kennedy and a majority of House Republicans. 

After being sworn in Monday, state senators quickly chose Republican Page Cortez to be their next president. The unanimous vote came with no public controversy. The decision had been worked out weeks earlier in behind-the-scenes negotiations.

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