Tea Party Group Seeks Boehner Primary Challenger

Photograph by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, pauses while speaking during a news conference in Washington, D.C.

A Tea Party group is initiating a campaign to oust House Speaker John Boehner from his Ohio congressional district.

The Tea Party Leadership Fund PAC is spending $23,200 to produce and air a television ad and $4,767 on polling in opposition to Boehner, according to a filing it made last night to the Federal Election Commission.

The group also says it’s preparing a petition drive as part of its campaign to recruit a challenger to Boehner in the May 6 primary in Ohio’s 8th District, a Republican bastion that includes Springfield, suburbs of Cincinnati and other territory in southwestern Ohio.

Boehner has “declared war on conservatives demanding lower taxes and limited government” and “today we declare war on him,” Rusty Humphries, a spokesman for the Tea Party Leadership Fund’s “Primary Boehner” effort, said in a statement that promises interviews with potential candidates and more anti-Boehner communications.

The campaign comes less than a month after Boehner and the Republican-led House passed a bipartisan budget plan to ease some spending cuts known as sequestration and to prevent another government shutdown. Boehner cast a rare floor vote to back the measure, which 73 percent of House Republicans supported.

Boehner criticized some Tea Party-aligned groups for opposing the agreement.

“They’re using our members, and they’re using the American people for their own goals” Boehner said Dec. 12. “This is ridiculous. Listen, if you’re for more deficit reduction, you’re for this agreement.”

In October, Boehner opposed most House Republicans in voting for a bipartisan accord that ended a 16-day partial government shutdown. Tea Party-aligned lawmakers including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz opposed the measure, saying Republicans needed to fight harder to withhold funding from President Barack Obama’s health-care law.

Boehner also bucked most of his party’s members and ran afoul of some Tea Party groups last year in voting for a measure that avoided the s0-called fiscal cliff by averting income-tax increases for most Americans while raising taxes on top earners. Boehner said after the vote that he’d press Obama for “significant spending cuts and reforms to the entitlement programs that are driving our country deeper and deeper into debt.”

Boehner, the biggest Republican fundraiser in Congress, could tap a huge campaign treasury to respond if he felt any political threat in the primary. The speaker had $2.8 million in his campaign fund at the end of September, the most recent date for which data are available. Boehner won 84 percent of the vote in the 2012 Republican primary. The filing deadline to enter the 2014 Republican primary is Feb. 5.

The Tea Party Leadership Fund, which raises most of its money in small-dollar amounts, had $210,875 in the bank at the end of June.





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