By Justin Sink
Concerns are growing that Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) could mount a conservative challenge to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), according to a new report in the National Review.
The story cites one leadership aide expressing concern that the Georgia lawmaker, who recently lost his bid to become conference chairman, could mount an outside bid for the Speaker's gavel.
While an actual upset is unlikely, some conservatives have voiced frustration with Boehner's willingness to accept increased revenues as part of the "fiscal cliff" negotiations with President Obama.
Boehner has also faced criticism from outside groups after removing four members from committee posts last week. The lawmakers, Reps. Justin Amash (Mich.), Tim Huelskamp (Kan.), David Schweikert (Ariz.) and Walter Jones (N.C.), have complained that leadership is punishing conservatives who have voted against the party line. Amash has said he would consider voting against Boehner for Speaker.
Outsider challenges to leadership are rare, but not unprecedented. In 2010, then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was unsuccessfully challenged by Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) for Minority Leader after Democrats lost control of the House.
In an interview with the magazine, Price declined to confirm he was considering a challenge, but voiced concerns that the conservative wing of the party was not being properly recognized.
“My concern is that within our conference, conservatives, who are a majority, don’t have a proper platform,” he says. “That’s true at the leadership table and on the steering committee.”
But Price also said he has been encouraged by Boehner's negotiating tactics thus far.
“If the speaker listens to the conference and agrees to not raise taxes, he’ll be successful,” he said. “So far, I think the speaker is doing that,” he added. “But we’ve got to watch what happens.”
Price has also been rumored as a potential candidate to mount a challenge against Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) in the 2014 GOP primary. But a PPP poll released last week shows Chambliss with a 50-22 margin in a hypothetical head-to-head showdown.
Erick Erickson, the Georgia-based conservative talk show host who also considered a bid against Chambliss, tweeted Monday in support of an outside bid by Price.
Rep. Tom Price was a great Senate leader in Georgia.He'd make a fine Speaker of the House.— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) December 10, 2012