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Democrats in Pa. House elect GOP speaker

UPI News Service, 01/02/2007 

Pennsylvania's House of Representatives, where Democrats have a one-vote majority, elected a Republican as its new speaker Tuesday.

Democrat William DeWeese, a former speaker and more recent minority leader, had hoped to return to the top job. Finding he could not get sufficient support within his own party, he nominated Republican Dennis O'Brien of Philadelphia, preferring him to the departing speaker, John Perzel, also a Philadelphia Republican, the Scranton Times-Tribune reported.

O'Brien defeated Perzel 105-97, getting most of his support from Democrats. There have been persistent rumors that he plans to switch parties, although he denied them last fall.

The Democrats won 102 seats in November, while the Republicans took 101. The final race was decided several weeks after election day.

The Republicans still control the Senate, while the state's Democratic governor, Ed Rendell, won a second term by a large margin.

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Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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