Oklahoma GOP Rep. Jim Bridenstine announced Friday that he will not support John Boehner for speaker of the House, becoming one of the first Republicans to publicly acknowledge his plans to oppose the Ohio Republican in next week’s vote.
In a news release, Bridenstine took issue with Boehner’s support of the end-of-the-year budget deal with Democrats.
“Speaker Boehner went too far when he teamed with Obama to advance this legislation,” Bridenstine said. “He relinquished the power of the purse, and with it he lost my vote.”
In 2013, Bridenstine was one of nine Republicans who voted against Boehner, supporting then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor instead.
The official speaker’s election is set for Tuesday, when the House will convene for a public floor vote to open the new Congress.
While Tuesday’s vote is usually just a formality, some conservative lawmakers are making clear they are likely to vote for someone else.
North Carolina Rep. Walter Jones said in a recent radio interview that he had been meeting with more than a dozen Republican members of Congress about voting against Boehner. Kentucky Rep. Tom Massie of Kentucky, a likely vote against Boehner, hinted he would oppose the sitting speaker when he recently posted a photo of a sign on Twitter that reads: “Next Speaker Please.”
The hope of the anti-Boehner bloc is for enough Republicans to deny Boehner a majority of the vote, which would cause him to drop out of the race. That would require about 30 Republicans voting for someone else.
But ousting Boehner is still seen as a long shot: the GOP conference already agreed behind closed doors to support Boehner, there’s no clear alternative to challenge him and the public nature of the vote can intimidate those inclined to support someone else.
For now, Boehner’s office is confident he will be re-elected.
“Rep. Boehner was selected as the House Republican Conference’s choice for Speaker last month,” Boehner aide Michael Steel told The Daily Caller earlier this week, “and he expects to be elected by the whole House next week.”