Julie Carr Smyth

COLUMBUS: Republican Larry Householder, a once-powerful speaker of the Ohio House, is eyeing a return to the Statehouse.

The 56-year-old left Columbus a decade ago with federal investigations into alleged money laundering and irregular campaign practices under way. The government closed the case without filing charges.

Now, Householder is weighing a run for his old House seat in 2016. A final decision is required by Dec. 16.

Top Republicans around the capital who have spoken with Householder are divided over his return.

Supporters say Householderís policy and political gifts would benefit the GOP caucus. Detractors recall an era of heavy-handed tactics by Householder and his aides that many donít relish repeating.

Householder would join a group of seasoned lawmakers making return runs for the House next year.