OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The 72 Republicans in the Oklahoma House of Representatives will meet behind closed doors Monday and cast secret ballots to decide who will become the next speaker of the House, one of the most powerful positions in state government.
The two men running for the post, Representatives Jeff Hickman of Fairview and Mike Jackson of Enid, grew up less than 15 miles from one another in tiny Alfalfa County in northwest Oklahoma, and each refers to the other as a friend.
A third potential candidate, Representative Jason Nelson of Oklahoma City, withdrew his name from consideration last week after acknowledging he didn't have enough votes.
The speaker's post became vacant last week when Representative T.W. Shannon stepped down to focus on his U.S. Senate race.