Here’s what happened: As well-dressed family members and Beltway reporters watched the slow, name-by-name count from the upstairs gallery, a dozen House conservatives tried to push the vote to a second ballot. If 17 Republicans voted against Boehner, he’d lack an absolute majority, and the clerk would recall the roll. In such a scenario, the rebels hoped, Boehner would step down.
They failed, though nine conservatives nominated a mixed list of tea-party alternatives. Three Republicans also voted present or abstained, including sophomore representatives Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina and Raul Labrador of Idaho.