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RPOF: Chris Dorworth is Speaker-to-be

Heathrow Republican Rep. Chris Dorworth has won the House Speakership in 2014-16 after Miami Republican Rep. Erik Fresen signed a pledge card Saturday in support of his former opponent, according to Dorworth backers.

"It wasn't even close," said state Rep. Steve Crisafulli, a Republican from Merritt Island. "I think Fresen has six or seven commitments include himself and I think the math wasn't working out for him. I think he decided, and I commend him for this, that he wanted to unite our class behind a speaker."

Final vote: About 32-6, Crisafulli said.

Fresen isn't returning more than a day's worth of calls and messages to us, nor to top Republicans in Miami-Dade who have called to inquire. Dorworth isn't as tough to reach, but cryptically said yesterday that "an announcement is coming soon."

Fresen and Dorworth have an odd common struggle: Each is facing home foreclosure proceedings. And each say it's not his fault, and is the result of some mix-up. Fresen, though, isn't facing a $2.7 million judgment against him, the way Dorworth is, along with a host other problems the Orlando Sentinel has detailed. More on Fresen here

UPDATE: The Republican Party of Florida just sent out a press release confirming:

The Republican Party of Florida today announced that House Republicans have selected Representative Chris Dorworth (R-Lake Mary) as the leader of the Republican Conference for the 2014-2016 term.

“I am grateful to my colleagues for their support over the past few years and for their confidence in my leadership as we move forward,” said Representative Dorworth. “The honor of serving as a member of the Republican leadership structure is one that I take extremely seriously, and I am looking forward to the work ahead.”

“Chris and I have become good friends over the past year, and I am honored to support him as the leader of the House Republican Conference for the 2014-2016 term,” said Representative Erik Fresen (R-Miami). “Headed into the 2010 elections, it is important that we unite and fight for the values and principles that we as Republicans hold so dear.”

“I commend Chris and Erik for uniting their class and for continuing to work hard to protect and grow our Republican majority,” said Speaker Designate Dean Cannon (R-Winter Park).  “Both are devout public servants and strong, motivated conservative Republicans, who I know will work well together to ensure the continued success of our party.”