Republican lawmakers unhappy with House Speaker John Boehner failed to oust him in Thursday's vote for the leaders of the 113th Congress, which re-elected Boehner by a tally of 220 to 192. The anti-Boehner crowd -- which had bragged to Breitbart News that it was big enough to nominate a challenger, yet did not -- called out a handful of alternatives. Former Rep. Allen West got two votes, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor got three votes, Reps. Jim Jordan, Raul Labrador, and Justin Amash each got one vote, as did former Comptroller General David Walker. After the vote tally looked close to the number that would require a second vote, a handful of the Republicans who had abstained then changed their vote to Boehner. Those abstainer-to-Boehner flippers were Michele Bachmann, Marsha Blackburn, and Scott Garrett.
Did Boehner think he had it in the bag? His thumbs up (shown above right) on the House floor moments before the vote began suggested yes. Boehner has had a rough time in the fiscal cliff negotiations, embarrassingly failing to get enough Republicans votes to pass his Plan B, which would have extended the Bush tax cuts on income under $1 million. Perhaps in a sign of sympathy, Boehner got this pat on the back (at left) before the vote.
Democrats didn't unanimously vote for Nancy Pelosi to be Minority Leader, either. George W. Bush's Secretary of State Colin Powell got a vote; so Tennessee Rep. Jim Cooper and Michigan Rep. John Dingell.
Update: Boehner tears up during his speech before taking the oath of office.