By Sean Murphy
OKLAHOMA CITY — The 72 Republicans in the Oklahoma House of Representatives have selected 40-year-old state Rep. Jeff Hickman of Fairview as the next speaker of the House, one of the most powerful positions in state government.
The Republican caucus met behind closed doors Monday morning and selected Hickman via secret ballot.
The speaker's post was vacated last week when T.W. Shannon stepped down to focus on his race for the U.S. Senate.
Hickman previously served as speaker pro tem, the No. 2 spot in the House, and lost the speaker's race against Shannon by a razor-thin margin.
The full House of Representatives is scheduled to convene at 1:30 p.m. to formally elect Hickman to the post, but that vote is considered a formality since Republicans control the House.