That lawmaker said that under such a scenario, he does not believe that either Cantor or the No. 3 House Republican, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California, would be selected as a new nominee, in part because of the gushing lock-step unity they’ve been emphasizing with Boehner as a leadership “team.”
In fact, aides to Cantor, who in the past has had an uneasy history with Boehner, have been determined over the past year to snuff out any suggestion of ongoing tension between the two, responding angrily when the idea of a Cantor challenge to Boehner was brought up.
Meanwhile, Price was reported by National Review as someone who might be thinking of putting his name into consideration as an option to Boehner if fiscal-cliff talks are seen by House conservatives as having gone sour. Some had noted that because Price has been mentioned as a potential 2014 primary challenger to Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., even a quixotic challenge to Boehner's speakership might score him points with conservatives, despite the cost of such a move in terms of potential retribution from Boehner.
But after a morning of such speculation on Dec. 9, a Price spokesman denied the congressman was running for speaker. “He is focused on real solutions to get America back on track. Those solutions reside in fundamental principles that embrace individual opportunity and economic freedom,” said the spokesman, Ryan Murphy. Nine days later, Price was named vice chairman of the House Budget Committee.
Hensarling is a darling of House conservatives. But his office on Friday responded to suggestions he might be interested in running for speaker with a statement that, “The only leadership position Congressman Hensarling plans to hold in the 113th Congress is chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.”
Jordan, the outgoing chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a group of more than 160 House conservatives, is a member who helped lead the charge against Boehner’s Plan B. His office had no comment on speculation he could emerge as a speaker hopeful.
Even before Boehner’s decision to pull his Plan B off the floor on Thursday night, the conservative group American Majority Action had this month launched a campaign to dump Boehner as speaker, seeking to convince House Republicans to vote for someone else on Jan. 3. The Virginia-based group is among those angered by what it sees as Boehner’s softening on tax increases as part of a fiscal-cliff deal. The organization is also upset by Boehner’s recent removal of some conservatives from committee posts.
But after Thursday night’s events, the group said in a statement, Boehner’s leadership has been “discredited,” adding, “Our country’s economy deserves better than to be held hostage by Speaker Boehner’s last cling to power.”
“He (Boehner) should save the Republican Party the embarrassment of a public leadership battle and resign,” added Ron Meyer, a spokesman for the group.
But Boehner is projecting a less-than-worried outlook.
“Listen, you’ve all heard me say this, and I’ve told my colleagues this: If you do the right things every day for the right reasons, the right things will happen,” Boehner said at his Friday news conference.
“And while we may have not been able to get the votes last night to avert 99.81 percent of the tax increases I don’t think … they weren’t taking that out on me. They were dealing with the perception that someone might accuse them of raising taxes,” Boehner said.