The Republicans who oppose Boehner for speaker

Chances are very good that when the vote in the House is held on Tuesday to elect a speaker, John Boehner will emerge the winner.

But not without some drama.

Anywhere from 12 to 20 House conservatives, fed up with Boehner's leadership, will vote against him.  The latest defector is Iowa's Steve King, who penned an op-ed for Breitbart:

On January 6, 2015, I will take an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic;… I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me, God.”

Then, I will be asked to put up a vote for John Boehner for Speaker. I know the pattern of his strategy and actions for the past 12 years to the point where I can predict the results. I am convinced Congress will not be allowed to restore its Constitutional authority under his Speakership and by refusing to do so, cannot call upon the courts to do so. How then, can I take an oath to the Constitution and put up a vote for John Boehner, almost in the same breath?

We need a Speaker who will help us all keep our oath, including his own, to the Constitution, not one who has consistently blocked our efforts to keep ours. I will vote for an alternative candidate for Speaker. I can’t vote for John Boehner again.

The other rebels are looking for an alternative to Boehner but can't settle on a specific name:

Over the weekend, Tea Party Reps. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said they would challenge Boehner for the Speaker’s gavel in a last-ditch bid to unseat him. One outspoken critic, Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), has openly plotted overthrowing Boehner, telling a radio station before Christmas he’s been huddling with 16 to 18 other conservatives to find a viable alternative.

Jones told a local newspaper Saturday he’s now rallying behind GOP Rep. Daniel Webster, the former Florida state House speaker whose name will also be offered on the floor Tuesday.

And last week, Rep. Thomas Massie playfully tweeted a photo of a McDonald’s drive-through sign reading: “NEXT SPEAKER PLEASE.” The Kentucky Republican made it official Saturday, saying he’ll support someone else for Speaker, though he wouldn’t name names.

Reps. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) are also in the "dump Boehner" camp. Bridenstine declared in a lengthy news release that he couldn’t back Boehner after the Speaker last month struck a $1.1 trillion deal with Democrats to fund the government without doing more to stop President Obama’s executive actions.

Gohmert felt the same way, announcing his bid Sunday on “Fox News.”

“It was a terrible strategy that follows a number of years of broken promises,” Gohmert said. “It’s time for a change.”

A handful of Tea Party freshmen also could defy the Speaker minutes after they’re sworn in by Boehner. Incoming GOP Reps. Barry Loudermilk and Jody Hice of Georgia and John Ratcliffe of Texas are among those who pledged on the campaign trail that they’d stand up to Boehner once in office.

Of course, few see any serious threat to Boehner’s hold on power. The midterm elections not only handed House Republicans their largest majority in generations, they gave Boehner, the Speaker since 2011, a bigger cushion to absorb defections from members in his own party. Now, nearly 30 Republicans would need to vote against the incumbent leader to force a second ballot.

Even then, Boehner’s allies have pledged they would hold successive votes on the floor until Boehner is reelected with a simple majority of all the House seats.

Neither Gohmert or Yoho is seen by members as speaker material, which complicates matters for the rebels.  There was a move by the Tea Party and Sean Hannity to advance the name of Rep. Trey Gowdy, but Gowdy had been bought off months ago by Boehner when the speaker gave him the plum chair of the select committee on Benghazi.  He actually seconded Boehner's nomination in a November meeting of the caucus.

All other GOP leaders are handpicked Boehner allies, so there will be no defections there.  The best the rebels can do is garner enough votes – at least 29 – to force a second vote, thus embarrassing Boehner and putting him on notice.  They are likely to come up at least a half dozen votes short of that.

Given what we know of the GOP agenda going forward, Boehner is likely to be no more popular with House conservatives at the end of the year than he is now.

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