Republicans Pick a Speaker 

(AP) – Maine House Republicans for the first time in three decades have nominated a party member who’s assured of serving as speaker for the upcoming legislative session. A five-way race for speaker was trimmed to four contestants as voting got under way Friday afternoon in the State House. After a tie between Reps. Paul Davis of Sangerville and Robert Nutting of Oakland, Nutting was nominated on the fourth ballot. House Republicans also bolstered their number by a seat Friday, as Rep. Michael Willette of Presque Isle changed his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican. Maine’s House of Representatives now has 78 Republicans, 72 Democrats and one independent. The full House will formally elect a new speaker after newly elected representatives are sworn in Dec. 1. (Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)