The PJ Tatler

Tea Party Challenger Says They Have 13 Votes Against Boehner (UPDATE: 15)

Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), who is challenging House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) for the gavel today, told Fox this morning that they currently have 13 members willing to vote against Boehner.

They need 29 votes to force a second ballot.

“You know, John Boehner’s a nice guy. What we’re lacking is political leadership and going through the regular order of the process, bringing up bills, member initiatives based on merit, not on politics. And we need a vision and a direction for our country and — and where we’re going — I can go on and on and on,” Yoho said.

When asked how many members the anti-Boehner caucus has wrangled up, Yoho replied, “You’re going to see the numbers grow.”

“I threw my name in the hat on Saturday as an alternative, because I’ve heard over the last two years, people wanted an alternative to the status quo,” he said. “And so I put my name in the hat, and Mr. Gohmert put his name in the hat, and this way, people have a choice. They either vote for the status quo, you know, maybe Wall Street or K Street, or they vote for the American people that sent them here, you know. And again, we work for the American people.”

When pressed again, Yoho produced the number 13.

“But you’ll see the numbers grow throughout the day. We’re getting people calling us thanking us for giving them an alternative,” he said, vowing they’ll be able to force a second ballot.

“And I see — think you’ll see more people emboldened. The American people spoke loud and clear in November that they’re tired of the status quo, and the way we change that is change direction of our country, and you change it through the leadership of the Republican Party.”

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) told CNN yesterday that in addition to Yoho or Gohmert “we should anticipate the name of Daniel Webster coming forward” with votes for Speaker of the House.

The former speaker of the Florida House is “a great respecter of the institution of the Congress,” King said.

“And I think the Democrats and Republicans want to see the institution restored so that the voice and the will of this republic can come from the American people through their elected members of Congress. Right now it’s got – its leadership making the decisions, and leadership staff are making the decisions. That’s got to change. Dan would be helpful in changing it. I support any one of the three. I’ve been talking about Dan for 2.5 years on this.”

The House convenes for the 114th Congress at noon Eastern time.

UPDATE 11:52 a.m.: The number is now 15. See The Hill’s whip list here.

UPDATE 12:17 p.m.: Boehner opponents will now need at least 35 defections to reach a majority of those voting, as at least a dozen Democrats are going to Mario Cuomo’s funeral instead of coming to the House to vote.