Despite the best efforts of rebellious conservatives attempting to drum up opposition to John Boehner in today’s vote for House speaker, the safe bet is that Boehner will comfortably keep his post for a third term.
So far, of the 246 House Republicans who will be sworn into office today, just 10 have publicly stated they will not vote for Boehner: Reps. Jim Bridenstine, Thomas Massie, Ted Yoho, Louie Gohmert, Dave Brat, Walter Jones, Paul Gosar, Steve King, Marlin Stutzman and Rep.-elect Gary Palmer.
That means 18 other members would have to turn on Boehner to force a second ballot. But even then, it’s unclear whether Boehner would drop out of the race or work to strike a deal with some of his disenchanted colleagues.
In 2013, Boehner felt the heat when a dozen House Republicans opposed him, but he narrowly escaped, winning 220 votes for speaker (a simple majority of all members voting is required).
Two years later, several lawmakers are hoping to learn from the practice run and make the unimaginable a reality.
“It is a growing number,” King, R-Iowa, told reporters Monday evening, keeping the details of his whip count to himself as he hurried into a meeting at the Capitol. “It is possible. That’s all I can say.”
Bridenstine, who voted for former Majority Leader Eric Cantor for speaker in 2013, became the first Republican to announce last week that he’ll once again find someone else to vote for instead of Boehner.
“Speaker Boehner went too far when he teamed with Obama to advance [the Cromnibus],” Bridenstine, R-Oklahoma, wrote in a statement Friday. “He relinquished the power of the purse, and with it he lost my vote.”
Bridenstine, who will be sworn into his second term in the House today, has been among the most vocal working to unseat Boehner from his post, scoring some assistance from Yoho and Gohmert, who both expressed an openness to running for speaker against Boehner.
“The American people have allowed us to choose who is best suited to lead the House by electing a deep bench of diverse and qualified members,” Yoho, R-Florida, wrote in a statement. “Our Republic is built on choice, and if needed, I would stand up to give our members that option.”
That news probably came as no surprise to Boehner, whose aides say fully expects to win the public roll call vote today.
"Rep. Boehner was selected as the House Republican Conference's choice for Speaker last November and he expects to be elected by the whole House,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel wrote in an email.
The vote is expected to begin around 12:40 p.m. ET and is projected to take an hour to complete.