There were a few protest votes when John Boehner was elected to a second term as speaker of the House two years ago, and this year those who wish to register their displeasure with the GOP leadership will have some ridiculous names to rally behind. Over the weekend Republican representatives Ted Yoho and Louis Gohmert said they won’t vote for Boehner on Tuesday, and offered themselves as alternatives. On Fox News Gohmert criticized Boehner for working with Democrats to keep the government funded through the New Year and promise that if elected, he’ll “fight amnesty tooth and nail. We’ll use the powers of the purse. We’ll have better oversight. We’ll fight to defund ObamaCare.”
Both congressmen would make politics extremely interesting for the next two years (Yoho once suggested only property owners should be allowed to vote, and Gohmert’s greatest hits include a meltdown over “terror babies” and linking gun control to gay marriage to bestiality). But their main goal is electing anyone who isn’t Boehner. Gohmert said the idea that splitting the Republican vote could make Democrat Nancy Pelosi speaker is “nothing but a scare tactic to keep the current regime in power.” He continued:
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.
As Bloomberg explains, “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.” Congressmen Walter Jones, Thomas Massie, and Jim Bridenstine have said they won’t vote for Boehner, and Jones claims there are as many as 15 House Republicans prepared to join them. If they rally a few more members to their cause they may be able to force a second ballot, but Boehner would almost certainly survive.