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House Majority Leader Nicholas Mattiello Elected Rhode Island Speaker

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NICHOLAS MATTIELLO
Democrat Nicholas Mattiello, of Cranston, R.I., speaks after being sworn in as the new House Speaker by the Rhode Island House of Representatives at the Statehouse in Providence, Tuesday, March 25, 2014. Mattiello was elected after the abrupt resignation of Gordon Fox, one of the most powerful figures in state government, after his home and Statehouse office were raided as part of a criminal probe. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island's House majority leader has been elected speaker in a lopsided vote days after the abrupt resignation of one of the state government's most powerful figures.

Cranston Democrat Nicholas Mattiello won the vote to succeed Gordon Fox 61-6 on Tuesday, with six abstentions and two absent. House Oversight Chairman Michael Marcello had challenged Mattiello but conceded hours earlier, saying he didn't have the votes to win.

Fox resigned Saturday, one day after criminal investigators raided his Statehouse office and home. Authorities have declined to detail what the probe is about or say whether Fox is a target.

Mattiello is an attorney who was first elected to the legislature in 2006 and has served as majority leader since 2010. He's known as a staunch Catholic and conservative, though he voted last year to legalize gay marriage.

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