Speaker John Boehner secured reelection as leader of the House on Tuesday, taking the helm of the largest Republican majority in a generation despite more than two dozen defections from disaffected members among his ranks.
The ranks of those members grew slowly on Monday and into Tuesday, but the lack of a serious alternate candidate or a concerted campaign against Boehner meant there were not enough members to depose the speaker. Ultimately, 25 Republicans present did not vote for Boehner, largely on the grounds that they did not consider him conservative enough or sufficiently aggressive in his dealings with President Obama.
It was the most defections against a sitting speaker since 1923, when Frederick Gillett needed nine ballots to secure reelection, according to the Congressional Research Service.
"It's a wake-up call for everybody," said Rep. Pete Sessions, a Boehner ally. "We need to be aware that we've got to do a better job, to effectively comunicate what we stand for and why we're here."
Within hours of the vote, retribution against some Boehner foes had already begun. Rep. Daniel Webster, who ran against Boehner for Speaker, and Rep. Rich Nugent, who backed Webster, found out Tuesday afternoon they had been stripped of their seats on the House Rules Committee. The Speaker has sole authority to appoint members of the panel.