John Boehner Lives To Fight Another Day As Speaker

The much ballyhooed conservative uprising may never have happened, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy street for Boehner.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

WASHINGTON — The House re-elected embattled Speaker John Boehner to a second term Thursday, dashing the quixotic hopes of conservatives who had sought to drum up enough opposition to topple the Ohio Republican.

Boehner won with 220 votes, a thin majority.

Boehner’s chances of reelection were never actually in any danger, and the vote was no surprise. More than a dozen Republicans either didn’t vote, simply voted present or voted for others, ranging from serving members like Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Reps. Raul Labrador, Jim Jordan and Justin Amash to former Rep. Allen West and former GAO Comptroller David Walker.

Republicans voting for someone other than Boehner include Reps. Tom Massie, Ted Yoho, Justin Amash, Paul Broun, Louie Gohmert, Jim Bridenstine, Steve Pearce, Tim Huelskamp and Walter Jones, while Reps. Raul Labrador and Mick Mulveney refused to vote at all. Rep. Steve Stockman, a Republican, voted present.

At the same time, there were a number of conservatives who did vote for Boehner, including Rep. Tom Price, whom conservatives had sought to draft against Boehner, and Rep. David Schweikert, who was stripped of his committee slots last year in part of insubordination. Outgoing Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan also voted for Boehner.

A number of Democrats also cast protest votes against Pelosi, opting to vote for Reps. John Lewis, Jim Cooper and even Collin Powell.

Boehner’s nomination was made by House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who, ironically, was the only member of elected leadership other than Boehner who voted for the fiscal cliff deal earlier this week.

McMorris Rodgers argued that Boehner was the best person to help “restore this land of freedom and opportunity.”

Conservative activists and media outlets in the days before the vote sought to drum up rumors of an organized move to oust Boehner or that he would end up resigning before the vote.

But while that coup never materialized, the showing of opposition to his speakership clearly shows how difficult it will be for him to regain control of the House Republican conference.

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John Stanton is the Washington, D.C. bureau chief for BuzzFeed News. In 2014, Stanton was a recipient of the National Press Foundation’s 2014 Dirksen Award for distinguished reporting of Congress.
Contact John Stanton at
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