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.
"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."
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.
November 14, 2008; 4:50 PM ET
Categories: GOP Leaders , House
Save & Share: Previous: Report: Aide to Sen. Boxer Charged in Child Porn Case
Next: Kennedy Returns to Senate for Lame-Duck Session
Posted by: vegasgirl1 | November 14, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: orionexpress | November 14, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: john91011 | November 14, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: michaelfairbanks | November 14, 2008 6:19 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: amaikovich | November 14, 2008 7:11 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: glenknowles | November 14, 2008 9:32 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | November 15, 2008 5:49 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: scac1 | November 16, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: dickward1941 | November 18, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Heerman532 | November 18, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Hneftafl | November 19, 2008 12:27 AM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.