Representative Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) announced Sunday morning on Fox & Friends that he would challenge current Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in his re-election bid.
Boehner has faced growing criticism from grassroots activists skeptical of his conservatism. As Breitbart’s Matthew Boyle reported, recent polling shows a majority of Republican voters would like their Representative to vote for someone other than Boehner.
Gohmert, first elected to Congress in 2004, told Tucker Carlson, “We’ve heard from a lot of Republicans that [they would] vote for somebody besides Speaker Boehner but nobody will put their name out there as running, so there’s nobody out there to vote for.” Gohmert mentioned that changed with the previous day’s announcement from Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Florida), and then Gohmert said, “And I’m putting my name out there also today to be another candidate for Speaker.”
He then spent a few minutes discussing the rules and procedures for the Speaker’s vote, to address concerns that if the Republicans split the vote, that Democrat Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi could be re-elected as Speaker by getting more votes from Democrats than any Republican candidate got. “That’s hogwash,” said Gohmert, explaining that the rules awarded the Speakership to the first candidate who got a majority of the Representatives’ ballots that were cast for a person. In other words, Pelosi could only win if Republicans turned in ballots that only voted “present,” and not a person’s name.
Gohmert cited the recent negotiations over the CRomnibus bill, calling it a “terrible strategy” and voicing frustrations that Boehner had promised to “fight amnesty tooth and nail” but instead funded it, and that he had “deceived” Republicans by working with Obama and Pelosi to get enough votes to pass the bill. In a recent interview with Breitbart Texas, Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) discussed that bill and disagreed that it would have been possible to block funding for Obama’s executive amnesty under that bill, with the Democrats still having majority power in the Senate for a few more weeks.
“It’s time for a change,” said Gohmert, citing the poll that showed that most Republican voters did not support Boehner’s reelection. He also criticized Boehner for breaking a previous promise not to run again.
Carlson asked Gohmert what he would do differently than Boehner if he were elected Speaker. “We will fight amnesty tooth and nail, we will use the powers of the purse, we will have better oversight, we will fight to defund Obamacare, and we have positive solutions…solutions that will return power to the people,” he said, mentioning some of the ideas from Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), like expanding health savings accounts.
Gohmert specifically cited his annoyance that long, complicated bills continued to be presented to Congress without adequate time to review and read them.
As Gohmert noted, Yoho, who begins his second term in Congress this month, also threw his hat in the ring Saturday night, sending out a press release announcing that he would also run against Boehner for Speaker.
Gohmert also released a written statement about his announcement:
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 29 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.
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter @rumpfshaker.