WASHINGTON – John Boehner faces a long-shot challenge to his leadership from at least two U.S. House Republicans who say the speaker is too aligned with business-as-usual in Washington.
Reps. Louie Gohmert of Texas and Ted Yoho of Florida said they would offer their names as alternatives to Boehner when Congress convenes a new session Tuesday. Their chances of ousting Boehner as speaker are slim, because about 30 Republicans would have to oppose his re-election to the post.
The steep odds aren’t stopping them from trying.
In announcing his candidacy for speaker in a Fox News interview Sunday, Gohmert said it’s “really time for a change.” Yoho disclosed his plans to run Saturday, writing on Facebook that opposing Boehner is “a vote against the status quo.”
Gohmert and other House members, many of whom identify themselves as Tea Party members, have a long list of grievances against Boehner. The complaints include that he has been too willing to compromise with Democrats and that he has allowed some measures — such as the Violence Against Women Act — to pass with more votes from Democrats than Republicans.
Republican lawmakers who’ve said they plan to vote for someone other than Boehner include Reps. Walter Jones of North Carolina, Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma. Jones has said that as many as 18 House Republicans are prepared to vote for a new candidate.
Boehner will be seeking re-election in a House-wide vote to his third term as speaker, a post that is behind only the vice president in line of succession to the presidency. His spokesman, Michael Steel, said in a statement that the Ohio lawmaker expects to win.
The parliamentary process for being elected speaker — a vote taken on the opening day of the new Congress — favors Boehner.
There are 434 current members of the U.S. House, following the announced resignation of Michael Grimm, a New York Republican. If all 188 Democrats oppose Boehner, it would take 29 of the 246 Republicans to block him from gaining the absolute majority needed for re-election.
An effort to oust Boehner in January 2013 failed. A significant number of defections this time would provide some embarrassment at the start of the congressional session. With Republicans also taking control of the U.S. Senate, party leaders are under pressure to show they can overcome internal conflicts and pass legislation.