Speaker Keeps Gavel: Boehner Gets By with a Little Help from Missing Dems
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) kept his gavel in the 114th Congress as the opposition bloc in the GOP failed to gather enough votes to oust him on the first ballot.
The number of members voting was 408. Boehner received 216 votes, 164 went to Pelosi, and 26 went to other names, with one lawmaker voting present.
By comparison, Boehner won with 220 votes in 2013.
Running for speaker against Boehner were Reps. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), along with a late entry from Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.), the former speaker of his statehouse entering his second term in Congress.
Massie formally nominated Yoho, "a great defender of the Constitution." Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) nominated Gohmert as "this kind of patriot" needed by the House. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) nominated Webster.
Yoho, Gohmert, and Webster voted for themselves. As is custom for the Speaker of the House, Boehner did not vote.
Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) voted for Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who expressed no interest in ousting Boehner and ended up voting for him. Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Fla.) also voted for Jordan.
Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) voted for Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.). Duncan voted for Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.).
The upper chamber got votes, as well. Rep. Curt Clawson (R-Fla.) voted for Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).
Reps. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Scott Garret (R-N.J.), Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Richard Nugent (R-Fla.), Bill Posey (R-Fla.), Scott Rigell (R-Va.), Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.), and Walt Jones (R-N.C.) voted for Webster.
Rep. Randy Weber (R-Texas) voted for Gohmert.
Rep. Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.), who announced he'll retire at the end of this Congress, voted for Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
Reps. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) and Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), who voted present against Boehner in 2013, voted for the speaker this time. Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.), who voted against the speaker in 2013, voted for Boehner.
Among the freshmen representatives, Gary Palmer (R-Ala.) voted for Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). Rod Blum (R-Iowa) voted for Webster.
Some possible freshmen defections ended up voting for Boehner: Reps. Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.), Jody Hice (R-Ga.), Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), John Ratcliffe (R-Texas), and Mark Walker (R-N.C.). Mia Love (R-Utah) also voted for Boehner.
Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas), who has filled former Rep. Steve Stockman's seat, voted present.
Even though the anti-Boehner contingent didn't get all the defections they'd hoped for, Boehner's path to the speakership was made a bit easier by the Democrats.
Twenty-seven lawmakers weren't on the floor for the vote, lowering the number needed by Boehner to win. About a dozen Democrats skipped the speaker vote to attend the funeral of Gov. Mario Cuomo (D) in New York. That gave Boehner even more breathing room, as the threshold to win required a majority of all votes cast.
Some Republicans were missing as well. Gowdy, whose name was bandied by many conservatives as a Boehner replacement but who intended to vote for Boehner himself, missed the session as weather canceled his flight from South Carolina.
"Had our flight not been cancelled, I would have voted for our Conference nominee, John Boehner. The position of Speaker of the House is a difficult job as evidenced by the fact that so few members seek the position," Gowdy said in a statement. "Speaker Boehner was approved overwhelmingly by the Conference in November. In fact, not a single other name was placed in nomination."
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) nominated Boehner for the job. Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) nominated Nancy Pelosi for speaker, noting that she has shown "it doesn't take a man to get the job done."
Blue Dog Dem Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) voted for Colin Powell instead of Pelosi. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) voted for Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.).
Cooper got a vote from freshman Dem Rep. Gwen Graham (Fla.). Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) voted for Rep. Pete DeFazio (D-Ore.).