John Boehner Elected Majority Leader

John Boehner, the number two vote getter on the first ballot and everyone’s consensus second choice, has defeated Majority Whip Roy Blunt and been elected House Majority Leader, according to and Mike Krempasky at RedState.

John Boehner Elected Majority Leader

Update: AP confirms: “Rep. Boehner Elected House Majority Leader

Rep. John Boehner of Ohio was elected House majority leader Thursday to replace indicted Rep. Tom DeLay. Boehner defeated fellow Republican Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri, 122-109, after lagging behind his rival in a first, inconclusive ballot.

Boehner campaigned as a candidate of reform, and said his experience as chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee had demonstrated his ability to pass major legislation.

Blunt remains the GOP whip, third-ranking in the leadership. He been a temporary stand-in for DeLay, who is charged with campaign finance violations in Texas.

Certainly, an outcome the party can live with. One wonders what will become of John Shadegg, who finished a distant third despite the endorsement of most of the conservative punditariat. Presumably, his stature will increase, as he was a virtual unknown on a national level a month ago.

CNN gets it exactly right:

The race appeared to turn on the desire for members to present a fresh face to the public and distance themselves from Washington’s K Street, or lobbyist, community.

Blunt was a part of DeLay’s leadership team and has ties to K Street.

Around the blogs:

  • Kevin Aylward: “While Boehner might not be the darling to conservatives that Shadegg was, his victory should be a refreshing change to those who think that a change from the DeLay/Blunt era needed to occur.”
  • Steven Taylor: “I would have preferred Shadegg, but certainly prefer Boehner to Blunt. The Era of DeLay is now over.”
  • Kevin Drum is amused that they screwed up the first first ballot.
  • Steve Bainbridge pronounces this a victory for the Coalition of the Chillin’.*
  • N.Z. Bear believes Boehner’s “past statements give reason for optimism.”
  • Dave Price: “Boehner was much preferable to Blunt, who had been the presumptive victor.”
  • Mike Krempasky: “[T]here is NO way Mr. Boehner would have won without Mr. Shadegg’s entry into the race.”
  • McQ: “We hope you’ll do as you’ve said and seize the opportunity you’ve been presented to change the culture and the structure that supports it within the House to root out the endemic corruption and return it to fiscal conservatism.”
  • Josh Marshall: “[E]very vote Blunt didn’t get in round one turned out to be an anti-Blunt vote — actually, plus one. On the surface the pre-vote tallies looked like Blunt winning with a wide margin. Actually, it was Blunt versus anti-Blunt. And he could never get into the lead.”

*Well, not yet. But he will!

Update: Boehner’s office has released a statement. An excerpt:

Boehner Elected House Majority Leader I am humbled and honored by the confidence my Republican colleagues have expressed in me with today’s vote. This afternoon, House Republicans are united behind our Speaker, eager to renew our commitment to the principles that prompted Americans to put us in the majority.

I congratulate both Roy and John on a hard-fought campaign. The three of us took what is normally the ultimate insider’s process and threw it wide-open. We took the campaign outside the halls of Congress and made the race less about ourselves and more about ideas. I look forward to working with them in the days, weeks, and months ahead to rally around our united Republican vision of freedom, opportunity, fiscal and personal responsibility, and empowered citizens.

I’m confident that down the road, we will look at the last three weeks as a turning point for House Republicans. This race provided us an important opportunity to engage in a real conversation about where we are, where we’d like to go, and what we’d like to accomplish as a majority. That conversation will not end today. In fact, it is just beginning. The problems America faces are substantial, and as a governing majority, our party must find the courage and confidence to confront them. At the same time, the opportunities our nation faces are countless, and only Republicans have the underlying trust in the American people to seize them.

The work ahead of us will not be easy. We must act swiftly to restore the trust between Congress and the American people. We must take the necessary steps to get the federal budget under control – to cut wasteful spending, reform our entitlement programs, and craft a budget process that encourages fiscal discipline. And we must recommit ourselves to reducing the influence of government in our lives. United together, I’m confident that our party can tackle the challenges before us and continue to lead the House for years to come.

Related posts in extended entry.


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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Dodd says:

    The title of this post should be “Boehner Beats Blunt”. That would not only be alliterative, it would also be read two different ways.

  2. Anderson says:

    “Boehner: Not As Complete a Joke As the Front-Runner.”

    Or JJ’s implicit “Better Than a Randomly-Selected House Member.”

    But as long as the Dems refuse to clean up House as well, I imagine the Repubs won’t take any serious heat.

  3. James Joyner says:

    Anderson: It’s better than that, I think. Boehner was my second choice, mostly because Shadegg represented a truly clean break. But Boehner’s record on earmarks and corruption generally was quite exemplary.

    The main thing is that Blunt lost. He’s still in the leadership–in a very powerful role–but I think his win as the permanent successor to Tom DeLay would have made “Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi” a very strong possibility.

  4. Doug says:

    The question that remains to be answered is how much will Hastert and the rest of the GOP leadership let Boehner accomplish ?

  5. Don Surber says:

    LOL on Bainbridge