Mattiello says he has votes to win speakership
The Rhode Island House of Representatives is expected to vote Tuesday on a new leader.
Speaker Gordon Fox formally resigned Monday in a letter to the secretary of state, days after state and federal authorities raided his State House office and his Providence home and removed boxes of evidence. Officials have not said whom or what they are investigating.
House Majority Leader Nick Mattiello, said Monday that he has more than the 38 votes he needs to succeed to the speakership.
"We're approaching 50 votes. We may be over that, I don't even know the count. My phone's been still ringing off the hook," Mattiello, of Cranston, said.
Even before a vote, the guard is changing at the State House.
Helio Melo, the chairman of the House Finance Committee, has cleared out his office. He was supporting Rep. Michael Marcello, D-Scituate, for speaker.
Marcello said he's keeping the effort alive.
"When I started this, I said I wanted to be with a group of people who wanted to bring dramatic change to the House of Representatives. I didn't care if I was speaker or if someone else was speaker, but we would coalesce a group of people -- progressives, conservatives, moderates like myself -- to try to get that group together. That's the group that I'm committed to, and that's the group that I believe has the best opportunity to bring change," Marcello said.
Mattiello said his focus will be single-minded.
"Jobs and the economy will be my ultimate priority," Mattiello said.
Gov. Lincoln Chafee was asked about his relationship with Mattiello.
"I work on good relationships with every member of the House and the Senate. I have for my entire tenure as governor," Chafee said.
Fox became speaker in 2010 and has served more than 20 years in the chamber. He said he will not seek re-election in the fall.
He has hired a lawyer, Albin Moser, who would not comment on Monday.The Associated Press contributed to this report.