AUGUSTA — State Rep. Robert Nutting of Oakland is poised to lead the new Republican majority in the state House of Representatives after winning the nomination during the party's caucus this afternoon.
Nutting was elected after four rounds of runoff voting held in the House chamber. He defeated Rep. Paul Davis, R-Sangerville, and two other nominees.
Nutting is now expected to officially become speaker when the full Legislature convenes Dec. 1. Although a formal vote will take place, Nutting is all but guaranteed to win the position because of the Republican majority.
If that vote goes as planned, Nutting will be the first Republican House Speaker since Rep. Richard Hewes, of Cape Elizabeth, held the position from 1973 to 1974.
Nine different Democrats have been speaker during a 35-year reign that fell amid a GOP wave of victories that few anticipated.
Reps. Andre Cushing, of Hampden, and Meredith Strang Burgess of Cumberland, were also nominated.
Nutting emerged victorious after four rounds of runoff voting designed to reach a 40-vote majority.
Strang Burgess withdrew after the first round, while Cushing was out after the second round of balloting.
Davis and Nutting were tied after two head-to-head rounds.
Davis served four terms as a state senator where he served twice as the minority leader and once as the
Outgoing Minority Leader Josh Tardy, R-Newport, made note of the Republicans' historic takeover of state government, saying voters had given the new majority a chance but that it was up to Republicans earn voters' trust.
"This is an opportunity we've been waiting for over three decades," Tardy said. "The nation is watching us, the people of Maine are watching us."