Boehner Wins Re-Election as Speaker
Washington (CNN) — Rep. John Boehner was voted by his colleagues into another term as House speaker Thursday despite receiving harsh criticism from some conservatives over his handling of the deal to avoid the fiscal cliff.
There were a few scattered votes for other names – defeated Rep. Allen West, the tea party favorite from Florida, and GOP Majority Leader Eric Cantor both received nods – but the vast majority of Republicans in the House shouted Boehner’s name when called upon by the House reading clerk. In total, 220 Republicans out of a conference of 234 went for the Ohio Republican during the tension-filled vote on the House floor.
Some GOP lawmakers didn’t answer, or simply voted “present,” when called to vote.
In total 12 Republicans declined to vote for Boehner – a tiny percentage, but still the largest number opposing the re-election of a House speaker in recent history.
And Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper bucked his party’s leader Nancy Pelosi to cast a vote for former Secretary of State Colin Powell (being a member of Congress is not a requirement to be elected speaker). Pelosi received a total of 192 votes.
Before the vote, some Republicans walking into the House chamber voiced frustration at Boehner’s performance as speaker, though the majority said they were supporting him for another two years in the role.
Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, who had his committee assignment revoked at the end of the last Congress, said he was casting a vote against Boehner based on “past performance.” Huelskamp cast his vote for conservative Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio – who told CNN on his way into the chamber that he was supporting Boehner.
Rep. Justin Amash, a Michigan conservative who also had his committee assignment removed, put forth Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho as a potential speaker.
Amash urged members to vote for someone other than Boehner in the hopes of pushing the speaker vote to second ballot, a fellow Republican, Rep. Walter Jones, said following Boehner’s re-election. Amash wanted members to “see what other opportunities we might have,” according to Jones, who added that Amash didn’t press for particular candidate.
Jones, like Amash and Huelskamp, is still angry about having his committee assignment revoked without any heads up at the end of the last Congress – he said Thursday he “had to read about it on the internet”
Jones said Boehner didn’t ask for his vote.
“He needs to call and ask for my vote,” Jones said. “He didn’t ask me.”
House GOP leaders were confident in Boehner’s re-election as they entered the chamber, telling reporters it was all but impossible for another representative to take the gavel.
Boehner himself told CNN he was confident the House would re-elect him speaker, but conceded a few fellow Republicans would likely vote against him.
When CNN asked Majority Leader Eric Cantor if Boehner would be re-elected he replied “absolutely.”
House GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy, the number three House Republican, also told reporters he was sure Boehner would be re-elected speaker.
Asked what he thought of all the drama surrounding Thursday’s vote, McCarthy replied, “Makes for good press, doesn’t it?”
And House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, the vice presidential candidate in last year’s election, make a skeptical “pshaw” when asked if Boehner would be challenged for his post.
Ryan downplayed what it would mean if members voted against Boehner, saying “that happens all the time,” noting he’s been in Congress eight terms and “it just happens.”
CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash contributed to this report.
REPUBLICANS WHO DID NOT VOTE FOR BOEHNER:
Rep. Justin Amash voted for Raul Labrador
Rep. Jim Bridenstine voted for Eric Cantor
Rep. Paul Broun voted for Allen West
Rep. Louis Gohmert voted for West
Rep. Walter Jones voted for David Walker
Rep. Tim Huelskamp voted Jim Jordan
Rep. Tom Massie voted for Justin Amash
Rep. Steve Pierce voted for Cantor
Rep. Ted Yoho voted for Cantor
Rep. Steve Stockman voted present
Rep. Raul Labrador did not vote
Rep. Mick Mulvaney did not vote