A conservative group aiming to oust John Boehner as speaker of the House said on Wednesday that they have commitments from enough Republicans in Congress to deliver the political surprise of the year and deny the Ohio Republican another two years with the speaker’s gavel.
“I have confirmed with a group of congressmen that Speaker Boehner will not be elected speaker tomorrow,” Ron Meyer of the group American Majority Action wrote in an email Wednesday evening. “He will either resign or be forced out tomorrow.”
In a phone interview with The Daily Caller, Meyer said “more than 20” Republicans have told his group they won’t vote for Boehner during elections Thursday. American Majority Action is a conservative organization based in Virginia that is active in the tea party movement. It is run by Ned Ryun, the son of former Republican Rep. Jim Ryun of Kansas.
Reached for comment, Boehner spokesman Michael Steel simply said, “Who are they?”
While Meyer declined to divulge the names of these Republicans, Texas Rep.-elect Steve Stockman, who will be sworn in Thursday, said Wednesday he won’t vote for Boehner.
“This is not something I do lightly, but out of bedrock conservative principle and a dire need to save this nation from its current course,” Stockman said. “We cannot tolerate betrayal of conservative principle and economic reality.”
At noon on Thursday, the newly-elected members of the 113th Congress will take part in the opening session on the House floor. After a speaker is elected, that person will give an opening address to the House and then administer the oath of office to the whole House.
The speaker’s election comes after a particularly rough few days and weeks for Boehner. A number of Republicans have openly accused him of removing them from coveted committee assignments because of their conservative ideology, which Boehner denies.
Other conservatives are displeased with his negotiations during the fiscal cliff talks, which culminated Wednesday night with the House passing a bill extending tax cuts for everyone except those making $400,000 a year.
And on top of that, Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie blamed Boehner on Wednesday for the “continued suffering” of the “innocent victims” of Hurricane Sandy by not allowing a vote yet on an aid package for the affected areas.
Still, despite the growing displeasure with Boehner, multiple Capitol Hill sources inside conservative offices told TheDC on Wednesday that they knew of no scenario – or movement – that would result in Boehner losing the speaker’s gavel on Thursday.
“Highly unlikely,” one source inside a conservative member’s office said when asked if there’s any chance Boehner won’t be re-elected.
But Meyer, in the phone interview, insists Boehner is likely on his way out.
Outlining the strategy for the coup, Meyer said the Republicans think they can force Boehner out by voting for someone else and denying Boehner the majority required to
be speaker. “I have been in contact with a group of congressmen who are going to make this happen,” he said.
But Meyer said he doesn’t know who these Republicans will vote for. “They haven’t told me that part yet… They think that Boehner is going to resign before they have to do that.”
“They’ll pick somebody,” he added. “It could be outside the House.”
It’s not required that the speaker of the House be a member of Congress. In November, Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert nominated Newt Gingrich for speaker instead of Boehner during the Republican caucus meetings. Gohmert, however, failed to get anyone to second his nomination, resulting in Boehner’s unanimous re-election.