The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

The two men running against John Boehner for speaker are, well, unique

In this photo taken June 20, 2014, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) speaks during Faith and Freedom Coalition's Road to Majority event in Washington. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)
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This story has been updated.

This week, members of the Congress will vote on who will lead them in the House. It seems House Republicans -- who make up the majority -- will likely stick with the guy already in charge, Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio).

As per usual, however, there are several conservatives who are unimpressed with Boehner's tenure and have a few alternatives in mind. And over the weekend, Reps. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) and Louie Gohmert (R-Fla.) put themselves forward as those alternatives.

It still seems quite unlikely that they will be able to derail Boehner's reelection -- 29 House Republicans would need to vote against him -- but, for good measure, let's compare the qualifications of each of the people who would like to have the worst job in federal politics.



He has represented Ohio in the U.S. House of Representatives for 24 years. He also served in the Ohio state House of Representatives for five years. Before his political career, he worked in plastics. He has been speaker of the House for four years. After winning another somewhat-contested reelection as speaker, Boehner said, “So if you have come here to see your name in lights or to pass off political victory as accomplishment, you have come to the wrong place. The door is behind you. If you have come here humbled by the opportunity to serve; if you have come here to be the determined voice of the people; if you have come here to carry the standard of leadership demanded not just by our constituents but by the times, then you have come to the right place.”


He has represented Texas in the House for 10 years. He previously served as a chief justice on Texas's 12th Court of Appeals.


He has served Florida in the House for two years. He previously worked as a veterinarian for large animals before defeating Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) in a 2012 primary.

Success in previously challenging Boehner for speaker


Despite accusations conservative unhappiness with Boehner's political purity, Boehner managed to get reelected as speaker in 2013. Just prior to the final tally, Boehner had only two votes more than he needed. He wound up clearing the bar by six votes.


In 2013, Gohmert voted against Boehner for speaker. He instead voted for Allen West, a former congressman from Southern Florida who had just been defeated. He also appeared on a list that Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) was reading on his iPad during the speaker vote of people who might vote against Boehner. The list was titled, "You would be fired if this goes out."


In that same speaker vote in 2013, Yoho voted for then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). Cantor later fell out of favor with conservatives and lost a shocking primary upset to Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) ... who, as it happens, is voting against Boehner on Tuesday.

Notable moments in Internet history




Congressional style

Since Boehner is more well-known than Gohmert and Yoho, let's delve a bit more into their careers and policy preferences.


From The Hill:

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) logged the most speaking time on the House floor this year out of his more than 400 colleagues. ... Gohmert clocked in about 29 hours on the floor in 2014, according to C-SPAN data. The Texas Republican firebrand typically speaks about a variety of topics, including immigration and disagreements with President Obama's Justice Department. Occasionally he employs unusual visuals, such as posters depicting crucifixions while talking about the persecution of Christians in the Middle East.


Often sponsors legislation that challenges the White House. In 2013, he sponsored the Government Lacks Insight To Choose Health -- or GLITCH -- Act. It would have provided "for a reduction in the pay of the Secretary of Health and Human Services until the Web site is certified as fully functional." He also sponsored the Nullifying Unconstitutional Mandate By Evaluating Results -- or NUMBER -- Act, which would have repealed the Affordable Care Act. In late November, he sponsored legislation challenging President Obama's executive action on immigration. His legislation has not had much success.

Memorable -- if not so political -- moments



The Daily Caller, April 2013:

Gohmert also talks about his rib-making, which he says he is legendary for. People love his ribs, he exclaims — even vegetarians. Apparently Democratic New York Rep. Louise Slaughter loved them so much, she brought some home, only to have her vegetarian husband eat them. Or that’s at least what she apparently told Gohmert.
But the rib BBQs don’t happen as often anymore. He used to make them on the balcony of his office but the Architect of the Capitol shut down his barbecues, he said. Michigan Republican Rep. Fred Upton allows him to cook them on his office balcony, which apparently doesn't violate the codes that concerned the Architect of the Capitol, Gohmert says.

Also, Fox News reported that "Gohmert is said to use LBJ’s dry rub recipe to prep the ribs."

Ted Yoho

Being a veterinarian, Yoho has a large reserve of anecdotes and metaphors involving the nether-regions of animals.

Politico, August 2012:

Ted Yoho is one of the best-known large-animal veterinarians in Central Florida. So in May, when an old friend needed help castrating several miniature horses, Yoho rushed off in between radio interviews he was doing to talk about his underdog congressional campaign and lent his friend some scissors and a hand.
After the deed was done, Yoho held up the horse’s testicles and proclaimed: “Washington needs a few more of these.”

National Journal, January 2013:

“Intimidating is going up to a growling Rottweiler and having to squeeze his anal glands, or going up to a stallion that weighs 1,200 pounds and telling him you’re going to take his testicles off,” he said from behind the wheel of his Ford Excursion. “That’s intimidating. I think I can handle Congress.”


Headlines that appear when you search "Gohmert" or "Yoho" on Google



Correction: A previous version of this story listed David Brat as Rep.-elect. He became a representative last year. The explanation about the possible outcomes of the leadership election has also been changed to be more accurate.