A small group of conservative lawmakers are creating a political headache for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) as he seeks re-election to his leadership post Tuesday.
Over the weekend, Reps. Ted Yoho (R-Florida) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) announced they would run for speaker against Boehner, while some of their colleagues revealed their intent to vote against him. Both Yoho and Gohmert criticised the speaker for being insufficiently conservative.
“We’ve heard from a lot of Republicans, that, ‘Gee, I’d vote for somebody besides Speaker Boehner but nobody will put their name out there,'” Gohmert said Sunday on Fox News. “Well that changed yesterday when my friend Ted Yoho said, ‘I’m putting my out there, I’ll be a candidate for speaker.’ And I’m putting my name out there also.”
According to The Washington Post, 10 Republican congressmen said they will vote against Boehner as of Monday morning: Gohmert, Yoho, Walter Jones (R-North Carolina), Steve King (R-Iowa), Paul Gosar (R-Arizona), Gary Palmer (R-Alabama), Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky), Marlin Stutzman (R-Indiana), Jim Bridenstine (R-Oklahoma), and Dave Brat (R-Virginia).
Brat, who famously toppled then-Majority Leader Eric Cantor last year, previously indicated he would support Boehner. In a Breitbart op-ed explaining the reversal, Brat argued that Boehner did not do enough to stop President Barack Obama’s executive action last November that shielded millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation.
“In recent days and weeks, I have given careful consideration as to how I would cast my vote for Speaker of the House. I do not cast this vote as an individual, but on behalf of the citizens of Virginia’s Seventh District who sent me to Washington to act as their representative. While I like Speaker Boehner personally, he will not have my support for Speaker,” Brat wrote.
However, despite some conservatives’ frustrations with Boehner, the speaker does not appear to actually be in danger of losing his gavel next Tuesday. Twelve GOP lawmakers opposed Boehner in 2013 but he still won re-election. And The Hill’s Scott Wong noted the last year’s Republican landslide gave Boehner even more votes that can act as a counterweight to possible defections.
“Few see any serious threat to Boehner’s hold on power,” Wong wrote. “Now, nearly 30 Republicans would need to vote against the incumbent leader to force a second ballot.”
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