The House of Representatives cast its votes for speaker on Thursday, and while John Boehner won his gavel back (barely — Boehner needed at least 218 votes to be returned to the speakership, and got 220), he wasn’t the only candidate to get votes. Before the final vote was gaveled in, the Ohio congressman had to face an embarrassing opening flurry of Republican votes for someone else.
So who else got votes on the House floor?
– Allen West got two votes for speaker: He may have been defeated after jumping House districts and finding that not even a more Republican district was interested in two more years of West’s Tea Party antics, including red-baiting in the U.S. House of Representatives; but the former Army lieutenant colonel still has fans. In fact, in the House, he has two big ones in the GOP: Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas and Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia. Both put the ex-congressman’s name into nomination.
– Rep. John Lewis got one, too: Georgia Congressman John Barrow, who serves that state’s 12th congressional district, placed the civil rights legend’s name into nomination for speaker instead of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. The four-term congressman is a member of the dwindling House “Blue Dog” moderate caucus.
– And Colin Powell got a vote for himself: Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper, a Democrat, voted for Gen. Powell, who served as George Bush’s secretary of state after being national security adviser and before that, Bill Clinton’s Joint Chiefs of Staff chair. The vote came after both Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) and Rep. Mike McIntrye (D-NC) voted for Congressman Cooper.
Turns out you don’t have to actually be in Congress to be speaker. It’s one of the many quirks of the U.S. Constitution. You don’t actually have to be a current member of the House (see Allen West) or even a former congressman at all (a la Collin Powell). Who knew?
Boehner’s deputy, Rep. Eric Cantor, got three votes (and no, he didn’t cast one for himself). Those were cast by Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM), and Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL).
So in the end, it was Boehner, 220, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, 192, Cantor, 3 and West, 3.
And the 113th Congress? Off to an… interesting start.