- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 2, 2016

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The Alabama House Republican Caucus voted Tuesday to support state Rep. Mac McCutcheon of Monrovia to replace ousted House Speaker Mike Hubbard.

A statement from the group said its 70 members decided by acclimation to back McCutcheon when legislators begin a special session on Aug. 15. The group said more than one round of voting was held, but no details were released.

The move virtually guarantees that McCutcheon will succeed Hubbard, who was automatically removed from office after being convicted of multiple felony ethics charges.

McCutcheon is an Army veteran and retiree from the Huntsville Police Department. Elected to the House in 2006, McCutcheon serves as chairman of the Rules Committee, which sets the agenda for the House.

“I’m humbled by the faith and confidence that my fellow Republicans have placed in me, and, if elected as speaker, I pledge to preside in a manner that treats all members of both parties in a fair and honorable manner,” McCutcheon said in the statement.

“Our state faces many challenges ranging from education to ethics to ensuring adequate funding for even the most basic government services, and finding needed solutions will require all of us to work together,” he said.

Gov. Robert Bentley called the special session for lawmakers to consider legislation that would allow voters statewide to decide whether to amend Alabama’s Constitution to allow for a state lottery. Legislators have rejected tax increases, and Bentley said a lottery is the best option now for funding state services for the poor.

The session will be held without Hubbard, who was convicted on charges of soliciting lobbyists and business executives for work and money. A judge sentenced Hubbard to four years in prison, but Hubbard is appealing and remains free.

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