Republicans in the Kansas House choose Rep. Mike O'Neal as their new speaker.
They ousted Speaker Melvin Neufeld, of Ingalls.
The selection of O'Neal, of Hutchinson, still must be ratified by the entire House when the 2009 Legislature convenes on Jan. 12.
Republicans will hold a 77-48 majority, and the minority party traditionally defers to the majority party's choices.
The vote among Republican representatives and representatives-elect was 41 for O'Neal and 36 for Neufeld.
Some Republicans were dissatisfied with Neufeld because of high-profile policy defeats on gambling and energy during the past two years.
O'Neal has been chairman of the Judiciary Committee.