House Speaker Tim Jones said the victories in the House and Senate races could help bring Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon to the negotiating table.
In a closed caucus Wednesday, newly elected Republican House members chose Jones to run the chamber beginning in January and picked Rep. John Diehl as the next majority floor leader, the traffic cop who decides which bills get green lights for debate and which ones get sidelined.
The leadership slate gives the St. Louis area two of the most powerful House players. Senate Republicans will select their officers Thursday. Republicans gained four House seats and lost two Senate seats.