The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Rep. Gohmert, a tea party favorite, to wage long-shot challenge against Boehner for speaker

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) speaks to reporters after leaving a meeting with the House Republican leadership on Capitol Hill in July 2011. (Harry Hamburg/Associated Press)
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Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) said Sunday that he would challenge Speaker John A. Boehner for the top job in the House, becoming the second long-shot tea party House member in as many days to offer himself as an alternative to the Ohio Republican.

"At this point, the Speaker’s election is not about a particular candidate," Gohmert said in a statement. "It is about whether we keep the status quo or make the change the country demands. I am putting forward my name for consideration as Speaker and hope that with a new Speaker, be that me or someone else, we can fight for the ideals and principles that the voters wanted when they elected us in November."

The congressman criticized Boehner for helping to pass a $1.1 trillion spending bill to keep the government running. The bill cleared the House last month with the support of most Republicans and some Democrats.

Gohmert's announcement came a day after Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) floated himself as a potential candidate for speaker. Both voted against Boehner for speaker in 2013 and face very long odds in dislodging him this time around.

But their bids reflect the discontent with the speaker among some far-right conservatives on the eve of the opening of the new Congress.

"The American people have allowed us to choose who is best suited to lead the House by electing a deep bench of diverse and qualified members. Our Republic is built on choice, and if needed, I would stand up to give our members that option," Yoho said in a Saturday post on Facebook.

Gohmert called Yoho "a good man for whom I could vote" but added that he had "heard from many supporters and also friends in Congress who have urged me to put forward my name for Speaker as well to increase our chances of change."

Boehner's allies are predicting that he will win another term without much drama.

"I expect that will move forward very smoothly," Rep.-elect Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

"Rep. Boehner was selected as the House Republican Conference's choice for Speaker in November, and he expects to be elected by the whole House next week," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said in an e-mail.