Now Republican Candidates Are Taking Aim at Boehner

Challengers vow to toss the whole GOP leadership team if voters will send them to Washington.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (R) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) participate in a news conference after attending the weekly House Republican conference at the U.S. Capitol March 25, 2014 in Washington, DC.
National Journal
Billy House
Add to Briefcase
Billy House
April 23, 2014, 4:24 p.m.

As a con­gres­sion­al staffer, John Stone got a firsthand look at how House Speak­er John Boehner and his lead­er­ship team op­er­ate. His boss was one of its mem­bers.

Yet now, as he vies for a seat of his own in a crowded Geor­gia primary, Stone is run­ning on a prom­ise to oust those very same lead­ers — not just Boehner, but the whole team.

“When I got here in the dis­trict “¦ what I kept hear­ing is, we’ve got to change the party lead­er­ship,” Stone said. “We need to end the GOP’s civil war between the es­tab­lish­ment and the con­ser­vat­ive base, and get every­body in­to the same tent.”

While anti-in­cum­bent sen­ti­ment has played a strong role in many elec­tions, run­ning spe­cific­ally against House Re­pub­lic­an lead­ers — in­clud­ing Boehner, Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Eric Can­tor, Ma­jor­ity Whip Kev­in Mc­Carthy, Con­fer­ence Chair Cathy Mc­Mor­ris Rodgers, and the rest — is nov­el. Moreover, Stone is not the only one.

The Re­pub­lic­an Trust Polit­ic­al Ac­tion Com­mit­tee cred­its Stone, 58, as the first can­did­ate in the na­tion to sign the or­gan­iz­a­tion’s pledge to vote for an all-new House GOP lead­er­ship team. But it also says can­did­ates in Geor­gia, Arkan­sas, and North Car­o­lina have done the same.

How this plays out in their races — let alone if they get elec­ted — is any­body’s guess. But Stone is go­ing to find out soon, with early vot­ing start­ing Monday in Geor­gia’s 12th Dis­trict and the primary com­ing May 20.

Stone is an odd test case. As a former chief of staff to Rep. John Carter of Texas, who was sec­ret­ary of the House Re­pub­lic­an Con­fer­ence from 2007 un­til Rep. Vir­gin­ia Foxx took over the post in 2013, Stone worked for a mem­ber of House lead­er­ship. He left Carter’s of­fice last year to make his second run for the seat.

Yet, Stone says he does not re­gard his cam­paign prom­ise to help bounce GOP lead­ers as trait­or­ous or polit­ic­ally dan­ger­ous. In­stead, he brags about it in press re­leases and ads as he cam­paigns against fel­low Re­pub­lic­ans Rick Al­len, Eu­gene Yu, Delvis Dut­ton, and Di­ane Vann. The vic­tor will face Demo­crat John Bar­row in the gen­er­al elec­tion.

As Stone tells it, it is time to put new blood in place that can heal di­vi­sions and “re­unite us be­hind a com­mon, in­nov­at­ive, and reen­er­gized con­ser­vat­ive agenda for Amer­ica.” In short, he says, it’s not per­son­al.

“I love every one of them to death,” he said of the cur­rent GOP lead­er­ship team.

Not all those who took the pledge feel the same. For in­stance, Bri­an Slow­in­ski, who is run­ning in a five-way Re­pub­lic­an primary in Geor­gia’s open 10th Dis­trict, proudly calls him­self the second can­did­ate in the na­tion to sign the Trust’s pledge. “We need to Fire Boehner and throw the rest of the Bums out!” Slow­in­ski says on his web­site.

Of course, the no­tion of con­ser­vat­ive angst over Boehner’s lead­er­hip is noth­ing new. Frus­trated House con­ser­vat­ives have been act­ively schem­ing to pen­et­rate the top ranks of the House, per­haps even by try­ing to force Boehner to step aside.

Some in­cum­bent House con­ser­vat­ives, like New Mex­ico’s Steve Pearce, even vo­cally re­mind audi­ences that they op­pose Boehner, and voted against him for speak­er in early 2013. “Prob­ably the most pop­u­lar vote I’ve made in the dis­trict,” he told Na­tion­al Journ­al.

But how wide­spread the dis­con­tent is, and wheth­er it can trans­late in­to ac­tion, is still un­clear. It is even less clear wheth­er at­tacks on House lead­er­ship will res­on­ate with voters.

The Trust’s ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or, Scott Wheel­er, calls Stone “cour­ageous,” and his group claims the pledge is the right move in his dis­trict, point­ing to in­tern­al polling the or­gan­iz­a­tion has con­duc­ted.

Re­pub­lic­an cam­paign strategists are thus far mute on the top­ic. “We have no play in primar­ies what­so­ever,” said Katie Prill, a re­gion­al spokes­wo­man for the Na­tion­al Re­pub­lic­an Con­gres­sion­al Com­mit­tee.

As for Stone, he was not ex­pect­ing any cam­paign help from Wash­ing­ton. And he’s can­did about what hap­pens if he does get elec­ted — only to find that Boehner and his team are af­ter­ward able to stay in power by win­ning their in­tern­al GOP lead­er­ship elec­tions for the new ses­sion.

“I guess then we’ll have to smooth over the wa­ters,” he said, “and find some way to work to­geth­er.”

What We're Following See More »
PRESIDENT CALLS MEDICAID FUNDS A “BAILOUT”
Puerto Rico Another Sticking Point in Budget Talks
9 hours ago
THE DETAILS

President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."

Source:
SHUT DOWN MISLEADING FALSEHOODS
Facebook To Cut Down On Govt-Sponsored Info Campaigns
9 hours ago
BREAKING

Facebook "outlined new measures it is taking to combat what it calls 'information operations' that go well beyond the phenomenon known as fake news" on Thursday. Facebook acknowledged that there are governments using its platform as a tool to launch propaganda information campaigns and "manipulate public opinion in other countries. ... Facebook suspended 30,000 accounts in France ahead of last Sunday’s first-round presidential election."

Source:
POTENTIAL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN?
Democrats Threaten Spending Bill Over Obamacare
13 hours ago
BREAKING

Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.

Source:
IN 2014
Pentagon Warned Flynn Not To Accept Foreign Payments
15 hours ago
BREAKING
WOULD PUSH DEADLINE TO MAY 5
One-Week Spending Bill On The Table
15 hours ago
BREAKING

Members of Congress are eyeing a one-week spending bill which would keep the government open past the Friday night deadline, giving lawmakers an extra week to iron out a long-term deal to fund the government. Without any action, the government would run out of funding starting at midnight Saturday. “I am optimistic that a final funding package will be completed soon," said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login