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Boehner Draws Challenge for GOP Leader

By Ben Pershing

House Minority Leader John Boehner will face a challenge for re-election to the GOP's top post, as California Rep. Dan Lungren announced Friday that he would mount what will likely be a longshot bid to unseat the Ohioan.

Boehner has been the party's top leader in the House since the start of the 110th Congress, and he is in strong position to keep that job despite the GOP's loss of at least 20 seats on Election Day. Until today, it had looked as though he might be unopposed when the party meets to elect its leaders next week -- a situation that appears to be the motivating factor behind Lungren's run.

Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio)

"After discussions with several of my colleagues, it has become increasingly clear to me that we must not revert to 'business as usual' in the selection of our House Republican Leadership," Lungren said in a statement released by his office. "It is undeniable that the American people are tired of the way congress has conducted its business on their behalf."

Lungren did not spell out what he would do if he actually became Minority Leader, but suggested it would be healthier for Republicans if Boehner did not go unchallenged. "It is my belief that it is neither in the interest of our Party or the advancement of our conservative principles to simply affirm the status quo by acclamation in light of what happened on November 4th," he said.

In response to Lungren's announcement, Boehner said: "Dan Lungren is a respected member of our conference and a man deeply committed to the principles that have defined our party since the beginning."

Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.)

Lungren served in the House representing a Southern California district from 1978 to 1988, then left Congress and was elected state attorney general in 1990, holding that position for eight years. He was elected back to the House in 2004 from a Sacramento-area district, and has worked mostly on homeland security and judiciary issues since then.

Lungren is a conservative but not a well-known leader of that faction, which most observers assumed would be the source of any challenge to Boehner's reign. Perhaps the two best-known conservative leaders, Reps. Mike Pence (Ind.) and Jeb Hensarling (Texas), set their sights on the vacant Republican Conference Chairman position instead, with Hensarling eventually backing out of that contest to support Pence.

And Rep. Eric Cantor (Calif.), widely seen as the most viable potential opponent for Boehner, has chosen to run for the party's No. 2 job, Minority Whip, which was just vacated by Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Boehner has also sought to steer supporters into other positions below him, backing Pence for the Conference chair post and endorsing Rep. Pete Sessions (Texas) in his challenge to Rep. Tom Cole (Okla.) -- a frequent Boehner foe over the last two years -- for the chairmanship of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

All that maneuvering has meant that Boehner looks safe to win another term in his job next week, despite Lungren's decision to mount what appears to be a largely symbolic run.

By Ben Pershing  |  November 14, 2008; 4:50 PM ET
Categories:  GOP Leaders , House  
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Too bad Boehner will remain in charge. He represents *everything* that is wrong with the GOP today. If the party ever wants to regain its integrity, it can start with getting rid of this chump.

Posted by: vegasgirl1 | November 14, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

John (I AM TOUGH ) Boehner , happens to be one of the biggest wimps in the House. Lundgren would be a smarter choice.

Posted by: orionexpress | November 14, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

"And Rep. Eric Cantor (Calif.), widely seen as the most viable potential opponent for Boehner..." Cantor is from VA

Posted by: john91011 | November 14, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Boner is a Bush Republican.

Enough said.

Posted by: michaelfairbanks | November 14, 2008 6:19 PM | Report abuse

In response to Lungren's announcement, Boehner said: "Dan Lungren is a respected member of our conference and a man deeply committed to the principles that have defined our party since the beginning."

Would someone explain how the Republicans enacted those principles during the last 8 years. Frankly, let's get back to principles.

Posted by: amaikovich | November 14, 2008 7:11 PM | Report abuse

isn't this a no-boehner?

democrats should pour money into lungren's campaign just like they did when liddy mae dole made that statement about her opponent being a god-hater. boehner needs to dethroned, repudiated and rebuked. where's sarah palin's witchdoctor? we need moose stew juju!!!

Posted by: glenknowles | November 14, 2008 9:32 PM | Report abuse

It's not at all surprising that Boehner is being challenged in view of the catastrophic Republican results in the recent national elections. Boehner is a conservative. Anybody who considers him a moderate is not practicing truth in labeling. Lungren may be slightly to his right but there is not a great deal of room to Boehner's right.

He may not be as extreme of a conservative as Pence, or as much of a doctrinaire laissez-faire economic conservative as Hensarling, but Boehner is unquestionably a conservative. Boehner is also something of an intellectual lightweight. It's surprising he ever reached a leadership position in the first place as there are no issues on which Boehner is known as a leading voice.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | November 15, 2008 5:49 AM | Report abuse

As a member of the 1992/93 EL Dorado County Ca. Grand Jury,and past member of the Grand Jurors Association.I unequivocally state that Dan Lungren's tenure as Attorney General of the State of California was comparable to that of Alberto Gonzales.Dan found that County supervisor Mark Nielsen did break the law. Dan agreed with the conclusions of an investigative report,but would not procute Nielsen.I am forced to mention Dan's collaboration with former D.A.Gary Lacy,Cynthia Smelzer,Michael Rafferty,Bruce Ashwill and Dep.AG Scott Thorp, the fearless prosecutor of Ellie Nessler. All of the above and more,can be varified with the Sacremento Bee, Tahoe Tribune and the Mountain Democrat.--Alex Campbell. Florence, or.

Posted by: scac1 | November 16, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

So if Boehner retains his job, it would be another term for "Mr. Tanning Bed"

Posted by: dickward1941 | November 18, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Did they say that Dan Lungren was challenging John's boner?

It would appear that Dan has a pretty 'stiff' challenge there.

I hope its not too 'hard' for Dan to overcome.

Posted by: Heerman532 | November 18, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Go for it, Dan Lungren.

Now if the Democrats could come up with ousters for the Bush lickspittle accommodationists Pelosi and Hoyer ...

It is utterly astounding that for the past two years they have considered acquiescing to Bush of more urgency than "impeachment proceedings [that] could distract this Congress from the priorities it is pursuing in the final months of the current session, and further delay efforts to end the war in Iraq." Bush instigates a war, pursuing it with egregious scorn for the Constitution, to pre-empt any possibility of his impeachment?

We have been paying with this administration for Ford's pardon of Nixon, and we will pay again, with accumulated interest dwarfing all the debt to China, succession by Obama or anyone else notwithstanding, however many years hence, for Congress's negligence and folly now in flinching off holding the Bush and cabal accountable.

Why does the expression "ship of fools" come to mind?

Posted by: Hneftafl | November 19, 2008 12:27 AM | Report abuse

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