AUGUSTA – Republicans who were just elected to the state House of Representatives are preparing to do something their party hasn’t done in more than three decades: elect a speaker.

As of Monday, a five-way race to succeed Democratic Speaker Hannah Pingree of North Haven had taken shape.

Republicans elected in last week’s sweep of both legislative chambers are virtually assured of getting their nominee for House speaker elected, thanks to their 77-73 edge over Democrats, who have controlled the chamber for 36 years.

The contestants in a runoff to be decided Friday are Reps. Andre Cushing of Hampden, Paul Davis of Sangerville, Stacy Fitts of Pittsfield, Robert Nutting of Oakland and Meredith Strang Burgess of Cumberland.

Last week, the newly elected Senate Republican majority nominated Sen. Kevin Raye of Perry, now beginning his fourth term, as its choice for president.

The new House speaker and Senate president will be formally elected after lawmakers are sworn in Dec. 1.

Legislative leadership brings oversight of a staff of about 100 House and Senate support positions, with a $6.9 million budget this fiscal year, according to the Legislative Council office. The staff includes many partisan employees who may lose their jobs as the GOP takes change.

The change of command is evident in the State House, where desks in legislative offices are being cleaned out and occupants are getting the word out — they’re looking for jobs.

Of the Republican candidates for House speaker, Davis and Nutting have the most seniority. Nutting, a pharmacist, served four terms in the House before being forced out by term limits, then returned last session after sitting out a term.

Nutting says that his two terms on the budget-reviewing Appropriations Committee are critical to becoming a successful speaker, and that his length of service gives him the knowledge about the legislative process that’s needed to lead the chamber.

Davis, a retired state police officer, also has five terms of experience. He served four Senate terms — three of them as a leader — then served a House term before this year’s election. Fitts has served three House terms, and Cushing has served one.

While Democrats are outnumbered, Davis said he will tell the GOP caucus that the new minority should not be written off.

“We’ve got to realize that Democrats love the state of Maine as much as we do, and we have to work with them,” Davis said.

Other Republican leadership choices to be made Friday include majority leader, between Reps. Philip Curtis of Madison and Kathleen Chase of Wells.

Reps. Dale Crafts of Lisbon, Dean Cray of Palmyra and Lance Harvell are vying for assistant majority leader.

Democrats will hold their organizational caucus Nov. 18.

Republican Gov.-elect Paul LePage’s new transition team is beginning the process of building an administration. The group will identify candidates for more than 100 positions within the executive branch.