Florida U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho became the third Republican lawmaker to publicly oppose John Boehner for re-election as speaker of the House and the first to offer himself up as a possible replacement.
Yoho, who was elected in 2012 and is a member of the Tea Party caucus, said in a statement Saturday that he has nothing personal against Boehner, but feels that the status quo needs to change.
“I ran for Congress in 2012 because I had had enough,” Yoho said. “Enough of career politicians, enough of political gamesmanship, and enough of the lack of leadership in Washington.”
“The American people have spoken loud and clear by their choice to elect conservative Representatives to serve them in Washington,” Yoho continued. “It’s our turn now, as Members of the People’s House, to echo their demands by electing a new Speaker.”
Oklahoma’s Jim Bridenstine set the anti-Boehner ball rolling when he announced on Friday that he would not back the Ohio Republican, who took over as speaker in 2011. Kentucky U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie followed suit early Saturday.
The two lawmakers — both of whom were elected to their second terms in November — specifically criticized Boehner’s and GOP leadership’s handling of the $1.1 trillion dollar spending bill, the so-called Cromnibus bill.
Another Republican lawmaker, North Carolina’s Walter Jones, indicated that a Boehner challenge was coming, saying in a radio interview before Christmas that he had met with 16 or 18 fellow Republicans about the prospect of an ouster.
While rumblings of a Boehner challenge have been building, no specific alternative had emerged — until Yoho’s statement.
“Our Republic is built on choice, and if needed, I would stand up to give our members that option,” Yoho said.
“Our vote for a new Speaker is not a personal vote against Representative Boehner – it is a vote against the status quo. Our vote is a signal to the American people that we too, have had enough of Washington politics, and that we will stand with the American people.”
In a separate statement, Bridenstine said he would back Yoho.
“Congressman Ted Yoho is a courageous leader,” Bridenstine said. “I applaud and respect him for standing up to offer an alternative to the status quo. I could certainly vote for Ted Yoho as Speaker of the House.”
“The idea that John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi are the only two alternatives is incorrect,” Bridenstine continued. “Now we have a real choice. Members must decide if they are for the status quo or for a change in direction.”