By Sandy Fitzgerald — Monday, 05 Jan 2015
A group of conservatives who tried to unseat House Speaker John Boehner last year is making another try, but this time around, at least two members of the circle say they want to run for the leadership seat themselves.
Texas GOP Rep. Louie Gohmert said on Fox & Friends Sunday that he is seeking the gavel, joining Florida Rep. Ted Yoho in a challenge against Boehner.
“We have heard from a lot of Republicans that said ‘I would vote for somebody besides speaker Boehner,’ ” said Gohmert. “But nobody will put their name out there. That changed yesterday with Ted Yoho.”
Yoho, who made his announcement on Saturday, and Gohmert do not have much support for their bids, reports The Daily Beast, but their campaigns could throw a wrench into Boehner’s re-election bid. According to House rules, a speaker is only elected when there is an absolute majority of votes. If that majority does not happen in the first vote, balloting continues until the absolute majority is reached.
There has not been a vote go to a second ballot since 1923, The Daily Beast reports, but given the continued outcry against Boehner, his opponents may be able to force that vote.
At least 29 Republicans need to vote against Boehner to force a second ballot, and last year, only nine voted against him. So far, just four lawmakers, including Gohmert and Yoho, have publicly said they will oppose Boehner in Tuesday’s vote.
But there may be more, with Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina, who voted against Boehner in 2013, appearing likely to join the opponents’ ranks again, reports The Daily Beast, and newly-elected Alabama Rep. Gary Palmer has said he’s voting against Boehner as well.
Late last month, Jones said that between 16 and 18 lawmakers were talking about voting against Boehner, The Daily Caller reported.
More than a dozen tea party-aligned conservatives are likely to vote against Boehner on the grounds that he is not sufficiently steadfast in opposing President Barack Obama on a variety of issues, including the budget and immigration, The Daily Caller reported.
In addition to Yoho, Gohmert, and Palmer, others purported to be part of the anti-Boehner movement include Reps. Tom Massie, Kentucky; Tim Huelskamp, Kansas; Justin Amash, Michigan; and Steve Pearce, New Mexico.
Boehner, though, is entering Tuesday’s vote from a position of strength. His spokesman, Michael Steel, pointed out that Boehner was “selected as the House Republican Conference’s choice for Speaker in November, and he expects to be elected by the whole House this week.”
In addition, the conference selected Boehner to serve as its official nominee for speaker.
Yoho, meanwhile, told The Tampa Bay Times that this first vote as a representative two years ago was against Boehner, and as a Tea Party politician, says his vote was not a personal attack, “but the representation of the voice of a frustrated nation.”
He said he still believes, two years later, that the American people are ready for new stronger leadership, but still has confidence in the GOP.
“They want a leader who is inspirational in message, and resolute in defiance against this president’s disastrous policies,” said Yoho, who is a large animal veterinarian by trade.
“I didn’t want to go into this Congress with the momentum we have from the November elections without the ability to change leadership in the House,” Yoho said on Fox & Friends Monday. “This is not a surprise. This is something, when I went up there in January of 2013, I voted against Mr. Boehner along with ten other members. And, this has been a build-up since then.”
But if Boehner wins, Yoho said he’ll stand behind him or whomever is named speaker.
“I’ll go up to him. I’ll thank him, and I’ll tell him, ‘You’re the Speaker for the next two years, and I look forward to working with you to solve America’s problems,’ ” Yoho said.