Wednesday, January 8, 1997
Chabot, Tristate Republicans
vote for Gingrich

Enquirer Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON - Tristate Republicans, including Rep. Steve Chabot, voted Tuesday to give Newt Gingrich a second term as House speaker despite ethical issues that continue to dog him.

Some said they continue to be concerned about those ethical issues, however.

Mr. Chabot, R-Cincinnati, who kept his intentions private until the vote, said he decided Mr. Gingrich's continued presence as speaker was necessary for the Republican agenda to advance.

''I was convinced that if we were really serious about balancing the budget, cutting taxes and getting rid of government waste, we are more likely to get the job done by retaining the speaker,'' Mr. Chabot said outside the House chamber after the vote.

Mr. Chabot said he waited until the end to see whether another ''conservative Republican'' might offer himself as a candidate for speaker. ''That never happened.''

When asked whether he would have voted for a conservative alternative to Mr. Gingrich, Mr. Chabot said, ''I would have certainly considered it very seriously.''

Others supporting Mr. Gingrich were Reps. John Boehner, R-West Chester; Rob Portman, R-Cincinnati; and Jim Bunning, R-Southgate.

Reps. Lee Hamilton, D-Nashville, Ind., and Ted Strickland, D-Lucasville, voted for their minority leader, Rep. Richard Gephardt of Missouri.

Mr. Portman said his vote to re-elect Mr. Gingrich will not stop the House Ethics Committee from continuing to examine whether the speaker wrongfully used tax-exempt organizations for political purposes.

''I'm glad what we did today does not foreclose the ethics process going forward,'' Mr. Portman said.

Based on what he knows so far about Mr. Gingrich's situation, Mr. Portman said he felt comfortable voting for him.

''Today our choice was essentially between Dick Gephardt and Newt Gingrich,'' he said.

Mr. Boehner, the House Republican Conference chairman, put Mr. Gingrich's name in nomination from the House floor.

It capped another busy 24-hour period for Mr. Boehner and other members of the House Republican leadership as they worked to preserve enough votes.

He said those Republicans that did not vote for Mr. Gingrich will not be targeted for retribution.