After nearly 5 years as Speaker of the House, John Boehner has announced that he will be stepping down not only as Speaker but as a Congressman as well. This will not only set-up a special election to fill the seat held by Boehner since 1991, but also a special election within the House of Representatives to fill the Speaker role being vacated effective October 30.
Early reports seemed to indicate that Kevin McCarthy of California, the current House Majority Leader, was the leading contender to replace Boehner as Speaker. Boehner even told reporters that McCarthy “would make an excellent Speaker.” However, Breitbart News reports, “While McCarthy is still the odds-on favorite to win, he is likely to face a serious and credible challenge from a conservative who can beat him.” Adding that “Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL), a conservative who previously challenged Boehner, has announced he is running against McCarthy. But another conservative with even more juice in the GOP conference—someone with enough credibility to beat McCarthy—is waiting in the wings and seems to be taking the temperature of the conference to see if Republicans will coalesce behind an entirely fresh, new leadership team.”
That someone else seems to be Rep. Peter Roskam from Illinois, who told Breitbart, “This is not about me. This is about understanding the importance of this historic moment—the resignation of a Speaker due to internal party divisions—and making sure we empower our conference and leaders to fix the mistakes that got us here… If we don’t have a plan to get us out of this dysfunction, reshuffling the deck won’t make anything better. I’m going to work hard to make sure we get the leadership we need, not just settle on the fastest, easiest choice.”
There is also speculation that Justin Amash or Paul Labrador will run against McCarthy, and Jim Jordan the leader of the House Freedom Caucus, has said the 42 members of that group will vote as a block, possibly for Labrador. It is not yet known if the House Liberty Caucus, which leans libertarian, or any of the other caucuses within the House of Representatives will vote as a block or whom they will support if they do vote for a single candidate. If the Liberty Caucus does put forth a candidate – possibly Amash – the Republicans could end up with at least three candidates for the Speakership.
Since the Speaker needs a majority to win, unless McCarthy or one of the other candidates is able to get bipartisan support, the election will most likely go to a second and possibly a third ballot depending on how many of the 246 Republicans decide to vote against the wishes of the GOP leadership.
Regardless who is elected Speaker of the House for the remainder of the 114th Congress, the size scope and power of the federal government will continue to increase, the Congress will continue voting on bills they have not read and which contain unrelated riders, and federal agents will continue to infringe on the rights of people around the world.