A bloc of at least 15 conservative lawmakers will vote Tuesday to deny John BoehnerJohn BoehnerLobbyists bounce back under Trump Business groups silent on Trump's Ex-Im nominee Chaffetz won't run for reelection MORE a third term as Speaker, more than the dozen who organized a botched coup attempt against the veteran Ohio Republican two years ago.
Hours before the vote, the number of Boehner defectors was building. Tea Party Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) announced on Facebook he wouldn’t be voting for Boehner, just like in 2013.
“A fresh start often requires change, and I believe that change should start with the election of a new Speaker,” Duncan wrote on Facebook.
The spectacle on the opening day of the 114th Congress is remarkable given that Boehner led the GOP in the November election to its largest House majority since the Harry Truman administration. On the other side of the Capitol, Senate Republicans will grab the reins from Democrats.
And in recent history, no sitting Speaker has seen so many defections from his or her own party in the first vote of a new Congress. Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) saw nine defections in 1997, while Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) watched five fellow Republicans cast votes against him in 2005, according to an analysis by The New York Times.
Only one Democrat voted against Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in 2009, but after losing the majority, 20 Democrats did not back Pelosi as their leader on the House floor in 2011.
Boehner allies are still expressing confidence they have the votes to beat back a rebellion from the right. “We expect him to be reelected,” Boehner spokesman Kevin Smith said in an email Tuesday morning.
The incumbent Speaker, who is facing long-shot challenges from two Tea Party favorites — Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) — needs support from a simple majority of the lawmakers present to secure another two years as the House leader.
That magic number won’t be known until the vote, given a number of absences. Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.) will miss the vote as he undergoes medical treatment. A number of New York Democrats will be attending a funeral of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo. And the inclement weather could delay some lawmakers trying to make their way to Washington.