Raleigh, N.C. — Two U.S. House Republicans from North Carolina were part of a GOP bloc that voted Tuesday against re-electing Ohio Congressman John Boehner as House speaker, while one conservative Republican reversed course and backed the sometimes controversial leader.
Boehner was re-elected to the top job in the U.S. House despite opposition from conservatives.
Eleventh District Congressman Mark Meadows and 3rd District Congressman Walter Jones, both conservative North Carolina Republicans, voted against Boehner, according to news reports. Instead, they backed Florida Republican Congressman Dan Webster, a favorite among the tea party. Boehner is unpopular with the more stridently conservative wing of the GOP.
Meanwhile, Mark Walker, a conservative freshman representing the Greensboro-based 6th Congressional District, issued a news release to explain why he backed Boehner.
"This was a difficult vote, as I share the frustrations expressed by many of my constituents, but I cast my vote today with a sense of optimism," Walker said in a news release. "I plan to keep the speaker, and the whole House leadership team, accountable – to encourage them to pass conservative legislation and not buckle under pressure from the White House or Senate. When I believe legislation is not in the best interests of the 6th District of North Carolina and the American people, I will have no problems voting against leadership."
Walker had been critical of Boehner during the primary, in which he beat out a field that included former Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr., the son of a high-profile state senate leader. But The Hill newspaper noted, "Walker received $10,000 from Boehner’s leadership PAC."
Of Webster and other opposition candidates, Walker said, "I do not believe they possess the record of leadership and accomplishment necessary to be Speaker of the House. I cannot just vote for the most conservative candidate when considering a position that is this important to the country."