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BOISE -- Republican Rep. Scott Bedke ascended to the House speaker job after a secret vote that ejected Rep. Lawerence Denney from leadership post he's held for six years.

Bedke's victory Wednesday ended months of behind-the-scenes campaigning since the Oakley rancher emerged as a candidate to lead the chamber earlier this year.

It signals Bedke's message of pragmatic conservatism resonated over Denney's harder-line insistence on loyalty, especially with about two dozen new GOP House members who are entering the 2013 Legislature starting Jan. 7.

Bedke criticized Denney's unsuccessful bid last January to oust GOP members of Idaho's redistricting committee over loyalty concerns, as well as Denney's financing of failed efforts to oust six incumbent Republicans in the May 15 primary.

Three other House leadership seats are up for grabs on Wednesday, too.

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