Things are not going so well for House Speaker John Boehner this weekend. After Republican members of the House began publicly announcing their opposition to another Boehner term as Speaker, Texas Republican Louie Gohmert announced his candidacy for the Speakers spot on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” Sunday morning. He is the Speaker’s second challenger as Florida Republican Ted Yoho has also announced his intention to run for the position.
Conservatives have been increasingly dissatisfied with the House GOP leadership, and in recent days a “Put some Boom in the Room” movement has been underway to replace Boehner with Trey Gowdy (R-SC), but Gowdy has said that he is not interested in the position. Gohmert is a favorite among conservatives and his announcement is likely to add fuel to the anti-Boehner flames.
It is unclear how Boehner will react to these developments, but he has indicated that there would be no punishment for members who vote against him in the public vote. It will take 30 Republican votes for someone else to block Boehner’s re-election. In his statement announcing his candidacy, Rep. Gohmert explains the process:
After the November elections gave Republicans control of the Senate, voters made clear they wanted change. There have been numerous examples of problematic Republican leadership, but we were hopeful our leaders got the voters’ message. However, after our Speaker forced through the CRomnibus by passing it with Democratic votes and without time to read it, it seemed clear that we needed new leadership. There had been much discussion. But, until yesterday, no one had stepped up.
I applaud my friend Rep. Ted Yoho for putting his name forward as an alternative to the status quo. Ted is a good man for whom I could vote, but I have heard from many supporters and also friends in Congress who have urged me to put forward my name for Speaker as well to increase our chances of change. That is why I am also offering my name as a candidate for Speaker.
There is false information being floated that any Republican candidates in addition to the current Speaker will split the vote and give the Speaker’s gavel to Congresswoman Pelosi. This is nothing but a scare tactic to keep the current regime in power.
As long as Republicans vote for an adult American citizen for Speaker, no Democrat can win. Only if 59 Republicans voted “Present” would there be a chance for a Democrat to win.
To win the Speaker’s race, an adult American citizen has to get a clear majority of all Members of Congress on the House floor voting for an eligible person. Voting “Present” simply reduces the number of votes required to win a majority. If no one wins a majority on the first ballot, then we go to a second vote, then a third, until someone gets a majority.
At this point, the Speaker’s election is not about a particular candidate. It is about whether we keep the status quo or make the change the country demands. I am putting forward my name for consideration as Speaker and hope that with a new Speaker, be that me or someone else, we can fight for the ideals and principles that the voters wanted when they elected us in November.
The vote for Speaker will take place on Tuesday, January 6th. If it looks as though Boehner does not have the votes to remain in the leadership position, establishment Republicans will likely field a candidate of their own to prevent a conservative takeover, but another establishment candidate is unlikely to quell conservative dissatisfaction with the GOP. A call to your Representative on Monday might be in order. The number for the Capitol switchboard, in case you need it, is 202-224-3121.