Yesterday, Rep. Ted Yoho (R) announced that he would not support Speaker John Boehner when Boehner runs for Speaker again at the beginning of the 114th Congress. He said that he himself would step up and run against Boehner if no else did. However, Rep. Louie Gohmert announced today that he would challenge Speaker Boehner. The election for Speaker is one of the first orders of business that the new House takes. Gohmert announced his decision on Fox & Friends Weekend, talking to co-host Tucker Carlson.
Gohmert will need to win at least 30 votes to prevent Speaker Boehner from winning on a ballot. A simple majority, or in this case 218, is required to win on a ballot. However, House rules dictate that the winner is the simple majority of votes for a person. It is possible for a House member to vote “Present,” and therefore lower the amount of votes needed for a simple majority.
Neither Yoho nor Gohmert had supported Boehner in his Speaker vote in 2013. Gohmert had voted for the recently defeated Rep. Allen West while the newly elected Yoho voted for then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. In 2013, there was a mini-rebellion among the Tea Party and libertarian wing of the Republican conference. A plan to remove Boehner sizzled out in the last few days, but it did not stop several Representatives from voting for people other than Boehner. Rep. Justin Amash has not said whether or not he would vote for Boehner, but he did not vote for him in 2013 and he has been a vocal opponent of the House Republican leadership.
Gohmert was elected in 2004 and represents the First District of Texas.
Read Gohmert’s statement:
“After the November elections gave Republicans control of the Senate, voters made clear they wanted change. There have been numerous examples of problematic Republican leadership, but we were hopeful our leaders got the voters’ message. However, after our Speaker forced through the CRomnibus by passing it with Democratic votes and without time to read it, it seemed clear that we needed new leadership. There had been much discussion. But, until yesterday, no one had stepped up.
I applaud my friend Rep. Ted Yoho for putting his name forward as an alternative to the status quo. Ted is a good man for whom I could vote, but I have heard from many supporters and also friends in Congress who have urged me to put forward my name for Speaker as well to increase our chances of change. That is why I am also offering my name as a candidate for Speaker.
There is false information being floated that any Republican candidates in addition to the current Speaker will split the vote and give the Speaker’s gavel to Congresswoman Pelosi. This is nothing but a scare tactic to keep the current regime in power.
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.
At this point, the Speaker’s election is not about a particular candidate. It is about whether we keep the status quo or make the change the country demands. I am putting forward my name for consideration as Speaker and hope that with a new Speaker, be that me or someone else, we can fight for the ideals and principles that the voters wanted when they elected us in November.”