Missouri Republicans pick Richardson as next House speaker

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Republicans have chosen House Majority Leader Todd Richardson to take over the chamber’s top spot following the resignation of House Speaker John Diehl.

Diehl announced Thursday that he was resigning after acknowledging that he had exchanged sexually suggestive text messages with a college freshman serving as a Capitol intern.

House Republicans met Thursday night and selected Richardson as his successor. The 38-year-old lawmaker from Poplar Bluff still must be officially elected by the full House. That’s expected to occur Friday morning, after Diehl’s resignation is finalized.

Lawmakers face a 6 p.m. Friday deadline to pass legislation this year.

Richardson says he hopes the House can get right back to work passing bills. But legislation could be delayed by partisan tensions in the Senate.

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