The Washington Post

Boehner: Long primary fight not a bad thing

As the GOP presidential nominating fight enters its second month of primaries, some Republicans are voicing concern about the potential damage a drawn-out fight could do to the chances of their eventual nominee – but House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) isn’t one of them.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). (Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

“I understand that people are concerned about how long the primary process is dragging out,” Boehner said. “I would remind people that President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had a fight that went through June of 2008. I think everybody just needs to realize that this will resolve itself.”

Boehner’s remarks came one day after former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney trounced his rivals in Florida’s key presidential primary. But Romney’s competitors for the GOP nod -- former House speaker Newt Gingrich, Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum – don’t appear likely to drop their bids anytime soon. That’s prompted some influential Republicans to express worries about a a bitter and costly fight to the end.

Some, like House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), have suggested that an earlier finish to the race would be the best thing for the party.

“The more we can coalesce around a single vision with the nominee, I think the more straightforward the choice is going to be for the electorate,” Cantor said in an interview with The Post’s Paul Kane at the House Republican retreat in Baltimore last month. “It’s the issues that need to be decided by this election.”

But others, such as Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), have argued that the primary should be allowed to run its course.

McConnell told reporters on Tuesday that the current contest is “reminiscent of the contest between Obama and Clinton on the other side in 2008.”

“Obviously, that ended at some point,” he said after Senate Republicans’ weekly policy luncheon. “I think it was about June and it didn’t seem to have done them any harm in the general election. And I don’t think this contest is going to do us any harm either.”

Staff writer Paul Kane contributed to this report.


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