Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Tuesday was re-elected to his third term as Speaker of the House, despite a vigorous attempt to unseat him that led 25 Republicans to vote against Boehner — that’s more the twice the number of GOP members who voted against Boehner two years ago, and the most anyone alive has ever seen.
Republicans who opposed Boehner were hoping to deny him a majority and at least force a second round of voting, something that hasn’t happened since 1923. But they came up short in the first round, and Boehner was elected 216-164 over the Democrats’ top choice, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) and Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) all offered themselves up as alternatives to Boehner. But these members combined received 17 votes combined in the final tally — Webster did the best of the three, with 12 votes, while Gohmert won 3 votes and Yoho won 2.
With all 435 members present, 29 Republicans would have had to vote against Boehner to deny him a majority of 218 and force a second round of voting. GOP defectors didn’t quite reach that total, and the absence of several members from the first day of the new Congress meant Boehner needed far fewer than 218 votes to win a majority, which made his re-election much easier.
There were just over 400 members present, in large part because many Democrats were attending the funeral of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo (D), but also because of snow that delayed flights back to Washington. That meant Boehner only needed to barely clear 200 votes to win re-election as speaker.
Still, the vote is a significant warning shot to GOP leaders, and reflects a growing dissatisfaction with Boehner’s leadership over the last several years, and in particular his handling of the $1.1 trillion spending bill last month. Several Republicans were outraged at being forced to vote for the giant spending bill without having any time to read it.
Many more were further angered over the absence of any language aimed at blocking President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration. That led to significant criticism against Boehner, in light of his comments to fight Obama’s action “tooth and nail.”
Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), who nominated Gohmert, said Gohmert would do a better job fighting Obama’s policy priorities.
“This is not about Judge Gohmert, it’s about establishing a strong check on the executive branch,” he said.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) nominated Webster, and said he is “a man who respects this institution, a man who underestands that power and principle cannot co-exist without recognizing the sanctity of each member’s vote in this House of Representatives.”
A full list of Republicans who voted against Boehner, and who they voted for, follow:
Justin Amash (Mich), Rep. Jim Jordan
Brian Babin (Texas), present
Rod Blum (Iowa), Webster
Dave Brat (Va.), Duncan
Jim Bridenstine (Okla.), Gohmert
Curt Clawson (Fla.), Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)
Scott DesJarlais (Tenn.), Jordan
Jeff Duncan (S.C.), Trey Gowdy
Scott Garrett (N.J.), Webster
Chris Gibson (N.Y.), McCarthy
Louie Gohmert (Texas), Gohmert
Paul Gosar (Ariz.), Webster
Tim Huelskamp (Kan.), Webster
Walter Jones (N.C.), Webster
Steve King (Iowa), Webster
Tom Massie (Ky.), Yoho
Mark Meadows (N.C.), Webster
Richard Nugent (Fla.), Webster
Gary Palmer (R-Ala.), Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.)
Bill Posey (R-Fla.), Webster
Scott Rigell (R-Va.), Webster
Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.), Webster
Randy Weber (R-Texas), Gohmert
Daniel Webster (R-Fla.), Webster
Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), Yoho
— This story was updated 1:59 p.m. to add vote totals.