Tea party group to host event to primary Boehner

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
Font Size:

A tea party group is looking to mount a primary challenge against House Speaker John Boehner.

On Saturday, a group called the Tea Party Leadership Fund PAC will hold a forum in Easton, Ohio — part of Boehner’s district — for Republican candidates looking to challenge the speaker. Candidates in attendance will include businessman Eric Gurr and J.D. Winteregg, a teacher who has been active in local tea party groups.

The tea party group says that they will also hold a straw poll of prospective candidates.

Conservative and tea party groups renewed calls to oust Boehner from the speakership last week, after he brought legislation to the floor to increase the debt ceiling without any conditions. The majority of the Republican conference opposed the bill, with just 28 Republicans joining with Democrats to pass the bill.

The 28 Republicans included Boehner who, as speaker, rarely votes for legislation.

The vote sparked outrage among outside conservative groups, prompting several to calls for the speaker to resign. The two sides have long had a rocky relationship with Boehner. The relationship worsened after the government shutdown last year, when Boehner declared groups that some conservative outside groups had “lost all credibility.”

This primary effort, said spokesman Rusty Humphries,* has been going on since last year, working to make voters aware of the challengers.

“Yeah, it’s an uphill battle, but that’s what America’s all about, it’s about not letting incumbents run away with everything,” Humphries told The Daily Caller, attacking Boehner as someone who has “actively gone after conservatives,” and “gone against the wishes of his district.”

Boehner has filed for re-election, but there has been much speculation that he might retire at the end of this term. Adding to that speculation was the news earlier this week that Boehner had purchased a vacation condo in Florida, which was viewed as an indication that he might be looking to relax a little.

A successful primary challenge against Boehner would need a broad base of support within the district and a lot of money. So far, there’s no indication that any of the prospective tea party challengers have either. Combined, Gurr and Winteregg have raised less than $10,000, according to FEC filings. Boehner, meanwhile, has $2.8 million in the bank

Boehner’s campaign did not immediately respond to request for comment.

*This post has been updated with Humphries’ comments.

Follow Alexis on Twitter