John Boehner won a third term as Speaker of the House of Representatives on Tuesday, fending off challenges from hard-right Republicans who accused the Ohio GOPer of failing to forcefully confront the Obama administration over issues like immigration and health care reform.
Boehner secured a first-ballot victory, winning 216 votes among the 408 members who voted; though Boehner came two votes short of garnering a majority of the House's 435 members, winning election as speaker required majority support only among those voting in the speaker election. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, who served as speaker from 2007 to 2011, won 164 votes. Meanwhile, Boehner's Tea Party challengers failed to win significant support. Florida Rep. Dan Webster won 12 votes, while Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert won three votes and Florida Rep. Ted Yoho won just two votes.
Because many members of New York's congressional delegation were in Manhattan for the funeral of former Gov. Mario Cuomo, while others could not be in Washington due to inclement weather, Boehner could have afforded to lose nearly 40 votes among the House GOP's 247-member conference. Although many right-wing media figures agitated for Boehner's ouster, few observers saw his speakership at serious risk.
Although the House speaker has invariably been a member of the chamber, election to the House isn't a technical requirement to be elected to the job. On Tuesday, two non-members -- Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and former Gen. and Secretary of State Colin Powell -- won a single vote each.