Washington D.C. was abuzz with the news of US House Speaker John Boehner’s resignation, after pressure from his far-right Republican colleagues (upset over his negotiating with President Obama on issues like increasing the debt ceiling). Since then, our nation’s capital has been filled with chaos.
Most assumed that it would be House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, who has quickly climbed the House leadership ladder that would succeed Boehner. Yet his candidacy was doomed after statements about the House Committee investigating the Benghazi terror attacks (he said it was meant to damage former Secretary of State and Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton) and opposition from conservative hardliners (the House Freedom Caucus, who backed Florida Congressman Daniel Webster) doomed his candidacy. He shockingly dropped out moments before the Republican Conference Vote to select their nominee for Speaker.
The previous chaos seemed like a mere blip on a screen compared with what came next. The most obvious man for the job, Wisconsin Congressman and 2012 Vice Presidential Nominee Paul Ryan, immediately said he was not interested, and then rushed home to Janesville, Wisconsin. This left moderate and Tea Party Republicans throwing out a laundry-list of potential candidates, with Republican leaders becoming more and more desperate to control the fallout.
President Obama, thrilled with the chaos of his partisan foes, suggested rapper Kanye West. Some Republicans even brought up the idea of a “placeholder” (a representative who was retiring from Congress next year, who would hold the speakership until January of 2017.) None of the names floated gained any traction, and the GOP was at a stalemate.
However, in the meantime, numerous Republicans called begging Ryan to reconsider running. Romney, McCarthy, and Boehner all called to ask him to throw his hat into the ring. Soon, the solid “no” turned into a “maybe” from Ryan, signaling there might be light at the end of the tunnel for the GOP, welcome news for GOP Leadership.
Returning to Congress, Ryan said that he would run only if he could be a “unifying voice” for the party, in shambles after battles between hardline conservatives and more mainstream members of Congress. He would need to get the pledged support of 218 Republicans in order to be able to win a vote for the whole house.
After a “supermajority,” about two-thirds, of the aforementioned Freedom Caucus backed Ryan, he announced his intentions to run for Speaker, ending the preceding month of chaos. The once reluctant candidate said he was “eager” to lead the contentious conference.
In the vote in the Republican Conference, Ryan defeated Congressman Webster 200-43, and got the vote of the entire House of Representatives, winning the votes of 236 members.