Tea Party candidate seeks to challenge Boehner in 2012

Tea Party activist David Lewis announced Friday he will challenge House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in a Republican primary in 2012.

Lewis describes himself “a devout Christian, Tea Party leader, and pro-life leader” on his campaign website. “David's only allegiance is to God and cannot be swayed by party, individuals, or interest groups,” the site reads.

Lewis told The Cincinnati Enquirer his candidacy was prompted by Boehner’s support of a federal budget that included funding for Planned Parenthood.

Lewis participated in anti-abortion activist Randall Terry’s sit-in at Boehner’s Congressional office in February, where he and five others were arrested on charges of unlawful assembly after blocking the hallway outside Boehner’s office. Terry is the founder of Operation Rescue.

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Lewis promised to air “graphic television ads on abortion” as part of his campaign against Boehner, which will be available on his website Monday, according to the paper.

Boehner won 85 percent of the primary vote in his district last year, and took over the top GOP position in Congress at the beginning of the year. Boehner’s favorability rating dropped somewhat nationally in August according to several polls, possibly in reaction to the high-profile role he played during protracted negotiations over the federal debt ceiling.

Boehner’s next election will likely measure his support amongst conservative Republicans, especially those identifying with the Tea Party movement, following some criticism from Tea Party leaders over Boehner’s perceived willingness to compromise with President Obama and the Democrats over the debt ceiling.

“I’m not delusional. I don’t know if I have a chance at beating the Speaker of the House,” Lewis said in comments reported by the Enquirer. “But what I can do is show the Ohio voters that Boehner has a box full of empty rhetoric. He doesn’t really vote for his convictions. He’s an establishment Republican. He doesn’t believe in the tea party. He doesn’t really believe in the pro-life issues.”