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Southern revolt against House Speaker John Boehner fails

Boehner defeats  GOP U.S. Reps. Louie Gohmert and Ted Yoho in leadership vote

♦By Rich Shumate, editor

southern states smWASHINGTON (CFP) — U.S. House Speaker John Boehner has turned back a leadership challenge from two Southern congressman who assailed him for being insufficiently conservative and too willing to deal with Democrats.

House Speaker John Boehner

House Speaker John Boehner

The House re-elected Boehner to a third term January 6, thwarting challenge from within his party by U.S. Reps. Louie Gohmert of Texas and Ted Yoho of Florida.

The final vote was 216 for Boehner, 164 for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, three for Gohmert and two for Yoho.

U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster of Florida — who launched a last minute campaign against Boehner just hours before the vote — received 12 votes, including his own, while other candidates received 16 votes.

The vote for the speakership is normally a routine affair, with Republican Boehner pitted against Democrat Pelosi on a party-line vote.

But because Boehner had to win a majority among House members present and voting, the conservative insurrection threatened to force the balloting into a second round — something that hadn’t happened in more than 90 years and would have been a a significant embarrassment for the speaker.

Still, the defection of 25 Republicans left Boehner two votes shy of the 218 needed to command an absolute majority of House members.

Boehner was helped by the fact that 27 House members didn’t vote, including a number of Democrats in New York attending the funeral of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo.

Gohmert, 61, is a six-term lawmaker who represents a district in East Texas. Yoho, 59, is beginning just his second term representing a district in north-central Florida. Both men announced their challenges to Boehner the weekend before the vote.

The challenge comes despite a 13-seat gain by Republicans in the 2014 midterm elections, giving the GOP its largest majority since 1928.

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