John Boehner of Ohio became the 61st House speaker shortly after noon Wednesday as the 112th Congress was called to order with a benediction, the Pledge of Allegiance and a record of everyone’s presence was ordered.
Lawmakers voted for Boehner as House speaker with 241 of 242 Republican votes. However, outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi faced a minor revolt from several of the 193 Democrats now in the minority.
While it’s traditional for the minority to vote its leader as speaker, even on the assumption the leader will lose, Pelosi was not the choice of 19 lawmakers. It was the largest number of defections for any formal candidate for speaker since January 1997 when nine Republicans voted against House Speaker Newt Gingrich. At that time, four voted for another member and five members voted present.
Rep. Heath Shuler of North Carolina, a Blue Dog moderate who has led the charge against Pelosi pulled away most of this votes, including his own as well as those of Reps. Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania, Dan Boren of Oklahoma, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Tim Holden of Pennsylvania, Larry Kissell and Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, Jim Matheson of Utah, Michael Michaud of Maine, Mike Ross of Arkansas, Kurt Schrader of Oregon.
Elsewhere, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona voted for Georgia Rep. John Lewis while Reps. Jim Costa and Dennis Cardoza of California voted for each other. Rep. Daniel Lipinski of Illinois voted for Ohio Rep. Marcy Kaptur while Rep. Ron Kind of Wisconsin voted for Rep. Jim Cooper of Tennessee. Rep. Sanford Bishop of Georgia voted present.