Boehner Re-elected Speaker Despite Dissent From Right
House Speaker John Boehner gets to keep his job.
In the first vote of the 114th Congress, an attempt by insurgent conservatives to topple the Ohio Republican failed Tuesday. Though 25 members voted against him, Boehner was re-elected as speaker, a role he’s held since his party took control of the lower chamber in 2011.
There were twice as many defections this time around as in the last speakership election, but the conference also has more than a dozen additional members this year, giving Republicans their largest House majority since the Great Depression.
While the coup attempt was disorganized and steeped more in show than sincerity, it reflected a still restive conservative faction -- emboldened by recent election victories and unhappy with the leader’s approach -- asserting itself as the GOP begins control of both chambers for the first time in nearly a decade.
Among the defections were many of the usual suspects. Justin Amash, a libertarian from Michigan, Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Ted Yoho of Florida, and Thomas Massie of Kentucky all voted for someone other than Boehner. (Gohmert and Yoho ran, as did Daniel Webster of Florida; Webster received 12 votes, the highest amount of those nominated or mentioned.)
But there were other, somewhat surprising, votes against Boehner, including those cast by Virginia Rep. Scott Rigell and New York Rep. Chris Gibson (who also announced his retirement Monday, saying he will not seek a fourth term in 2016). Some new faces also bucked the party. Virginia Rep. David Brat, who defeated former Majority Leader Eric Cantor last summer, voted against the current speaker. Several lawmakers who didn’t back Boehner in 2013 voted for him on Tuesday, including Raul Labrador of Idaho, Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, and Jim Jordan of Ohio.
Shortly before 2 p.m. on Tuesday, two hours after the new Congress convened, Boehner was officially announced as the winner. Several members from both parties were absent, some due to weather conditions while others were attending funeral services for former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was re-elected despite a handful of defections from members of her own caucus, including Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema and newly elected Gwen Graham of Florida.