RI House majority leader has backing in early vote

Associated Press
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Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox speaks to a reporter as he emerges from his home in Providence, R.I., on Saturday, March 22, 2014 a day after Fox's home and Statehouse office were raided by federal and state authorities. Fox told reporters outside his home Saturday he would make a statement “when it’s appropriate.” Authorities raided Fox’s Capitol office and home Friday as part of an investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office, FBI, IRS and state police. Officials haven’t said who or what they are investigating. Fox wouldn’t comment when asked if he plans to resign. He also wouldn’t say if a lawyer is representing him. (AP Photo/Michelle R. Smith)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island's House majority leader says he has received the support of 41 members in a preliminary vote to choose the next speaker and expects to be elected to the post this week.

Democrat Nicholas Mattiello said after a caucus meeting Sunday he has secured the support of 39 Democrats and two Republicans and expects those numbers to grow as he seeks to replace Gordon Fox. Fox announced Saturday he was resigning from the top post after his home and office were raided as part of an investigation by federal and state authorities.

A candidate needs 38 votes to be elected speaker of the 75-member body.

House Oversight Chairman Michael Marcello is also seeking the speakership. He said earlier Sunday he has 33 votes, but that "everything is still in play."