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Ted Yoho joins movement for new House speaker

Gainesville Republican offers himself as potential candidate

Ted Yoho addresses Florida Republican delegation breakfast.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Gainesville) is the latest Republican to announce he will vote against House Speaker John Boehner's re-election this week and the first to say he would be willing to stand as an alternative candidate for speaker.

Yoho joins Reps. Jim Bridenstine, R-Oklahoma, Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and Thomas Massie, R-Kentucky, in going on the record in opposing Boehner re-election on Tuesday.

"I ran for Congress in 2012 because I had had enough," Yoho said in announcing his public opposition to Boehner. "Enough of career politicians, enough of political gamesmanship, and enough of the lack of leadership in Washington. As we enter 2015, we are faced with overwhelming challenges. However, the dawn of 2015 also promises unlimited potential and the opportunity to begin rebuilding America."

Yoho also said in his statement that he is willing to become an alternative candidate to Boehner if members feel they need to vote for someone other than Boehner.

The Congressional Research Service report on speakership elections says there is no need for an alternative. Technically, Republicans need just 29 GOP votes for someone other than Boehner as speaker on the first ballot -- at which point the vote would be kicked off to a second or third or fourth ballot.

If Boehner is not re-elected swiftly on the first ballot, it is likely that shortly thereafter an alternative would emerge.

On May 2, 2014, House Speaker John Boehner announced that he will form a select committee to investigate the 2012 terror attack. The move came after previously unreleased documents, including an email from a White House national security aide, added to questions about what the Obama administration knew about the armed assault and how it responded in the days after.

A national telephone survey of Republican voters fielded by EMC Research found that 60 percent of Republicans said that, if it was up to them, they would definitely or probably vote for someone other than Boehner as speaker. Only 25 percent said they would definitely or probably vote for Boehner's re-election.

Yoho defeated long-time Rep. Cliff Stearns in 2012 in the 3rd Congressional District, which stretches from Clay County west to include Bradford, Columbia and Union counties and southwest through Alachua County and extending to the Gulf Coast.

Yoho received 65 percent of the vote in November 2014, with Democratic and independent challengers splitting the other 35 percent.

In Yoho's statement, he said the voters gave Republicans the mandate given the voters in November requires strong leadership.

"The American people have spoken loud and clear by their choice to elect conservative Representatives to serve them in Washington. It's our turn now, as Members of the People's House, to echo their demands by electing a new Speaker. The American people have allowed us to choose who is best suited to lead the House by electing a deep bench of diverse and qualified members. Our Republic is built on choice, and if needed, I would stand up to give our members that option."

Yoho encouraged members considering voting against Boehner to not look at it as a vote against his personality, but a vote against Washington's unpopularity with the American people.

"Our vote is a signal to the American people that we too, have had enough of Washington politics, and that we will stand with the American people," Yoho wrote. "This is a renewed commitment of our Oath of Office, the people we represent, and the Constitution. In 2015, we will take America back, we will restore opportunity for every American, and we will rebuild America."

Yoho voted against Boehner in the last Congress. In his statement, Yoho said he showed last month he can draw support of the majority of his party by convincing 216 House Republicans to vote for his build aimed at gutting Obama's immigration amnesty plan.

In a news release, Bridenstine applauded Yoho's initiative to opposed Boehner. 

"Congressman Ted Yoho is a courageous leader. I applaud and respect him for standing up to offer an alternative to the status quo," the Oklahoma Republican announced. "I could certainly vote for Ted Yoho as Speaker of the House. The idea that John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi are the only two alternatives is incorrect. Now we have a real choice. Members must decide if they are for the status quo or for a change in direction."

With just three members coming out publicly against Boehner's re-election, momentum would need to build quickly reach at least 29 votes to block the speaker's re-election.