If you don’t remember the shock of a veterinarian winning his primary in 2012, you’re probably not alone.
However, the ramifications of that election are still playing out today.
Just two years ago, 24 year incumbent Congressman Cliff Stearns was completely upset in his primary by a little-known vet named Ted Yoho.
Yoho’s win was remarkable for several reasons. To begin with, Stearns was no liberal. He is one of the main reasons that Solyndra is now a household name due to his relentless investigations.
How did this happen? Yoho was probably most known for his primary ad about pigs (possibly providing inspiration for Joni Ernst’s game changing ad this cycle), where he compared DC politicians to pigs at a trough (he even had a wrestler named Goldust star in the ad).
At one particularly memorable campaign stop, Yoho castrated a horse, held up the…leftovers, and proclaimed that “Washington needs a few more of these (okay, so maybe Ernst really did steal this idea).”
This ad, combined with the attention it brought him and the popularity of his self imposed term limit of 12 years, was enough for him to overcome Stearns’s incumbency.
When Yoho moved to Washington, he made his 24 year old campaign manager his Chief of Staff, and his very first vote cast in congress was against John Boehner as Speaker.
In his one term in Congress, Yoho has argued that only property owners should vote and that defaulting on our debt ceiling is actually a good thing.
His stances on War on Terror policies put him to the Left of some Democrats, and Yoho is “avowedly antagonistic to the foreign policy orientation of the last several presidential administrations, including his own party’s ‘neoconservative wing,’ [he] wants to return America’s troops home from abroad, and is a staunch civil libertarian who calls for the repeal of the Patriot Act and the latest incarnation of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).”
He also has a lower rating from the American Conservative Union than Boehner.
A couple of months ago, Yoho crafted an immigration bill in response to Obama’s Executive Order that passed through the House and was (probably) a way for many of the members to vote against Obama without doing anything that would resemble political suicide, like shutting down the government.
All’s well that ends well, right? Not exactly.
Amid the current speculation that Boehner will not be re-elected as Speaker (which is just that: speculation), Yoho announced that he could possibly serve as an alternate candidate should Boehner shed the support he needs to keep his job.
So what are the odds of a Speaker Yoho? Not very good. Despite the fact that 60% of Republicans apparently want someone else as Speaker (disregard the fact that this poll is misleading), think back to the insurrection Democrats had against Nancy Pelosi in 2010.
You don’t remember what I’m talking about? That’s probably because these movements rarely succeed. Democratic Congressman Heath Shuler challenged Pelosi for Speaker from the right and…didn’t even come close (he left congress altogether just 2 years after).
Or consider this past election cycle, where a few Senate Democrats voted against re-electing Harry Reid as their leader. Guess what? He still heads their caucus, so these votes rarely amount to much besides making a political point (although Mary Landrieu’s vote against Reid didn’t do her any favors in her senate runoff).
The point is that these challenges almost never actually gain traction, and with so few members declaring that they will vote against Boehner, I think it’s a safe bet that we’ll be having a Speaker Boehner, and not a Speaker Yoho, for the next two years.