Needing just 205 votes to hang on to his position as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. John Boehner survived an effort by conservatives to remove him during the opening of the 114th Congress today.
Boehner was challenged by Democrat minority leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, and Republican Reps. Louie Gohmert, Ted Yoho, and Daniel Webster. During the vote, a number of other people were named, including former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Rep. Trey Gowdy, who was not in attendance for the opening of Congress, and Sen. Rand Paul.
A number of New York Democrats also were not in attendance. They instead were at the funeral for former Gov. Mario Cuomo, who passed away last week.
In the end, Boehner received nine more votes (216) than he needed to remain Speaker. Iowa Republican Reps. Steve King and Rod Blum both voted for Webster; King had officially nominated Webster before the vote.
King explained his actions in an opinion piece written for Breitbart.com. He said he could not uphold his oath to support and defend the Constitution by voting for Boehner.
Blum took to social media to explain to his constituents why he voted for Webster. He said he could not turn his back on those who elected him with his very first vote in Congress.
“I was elected by Iowans to stand up to the status quo in Washington, DC, and I refuse to turn my back on them with my first vote. While I know Speaker Boehner is a good man and I respect the job he has done as Speaker, I must follow the will of the Eastern Iowans who rejected politics as usual in November and are calling for change in DC,” he said. “With Congressional approval ratings at historic lows, it’s time for our elected officials to listen to the people and rethink business as usual so we can move our country forward together.”
Iowa’s third Republican in the House, David Young, voted for Boehner in spite of numerous calls from constituents to not vote for him. Young has not yet explained his vote.
The last time a vote for Speaker required more than one ballot was in 1927.
Editor’s Note: this article was amended to include explanations for Rep. Steve King and Rep. Rod Blum’s votes in the speakership ballot.