Blum May Face Repercussions for Vote Against Speaker

Jan 7, 2015

Though Ohio Republican John Boehner won a third term as Speaker of the House, he does not have a friend in Iowa Congressman Rod Blum of Dubuque.

The freshman congressman was one of 24 representatives who yesterday voted against Boehner, despite the fact the Speaker campaigned for Blum last October.

In December, Blum told eastern Iowa TV station KWWL, “I’m not going to be a ‘sure vote’ for the Republican Party (in Congress)…When I don’t agree with my own party, I’ll stand up to them and vote against them.”

Blum cited Congressional approval ratings at historic lows as his reason for voting against Boehner, saying it was time to “rethink” the status quo. Since 30 votes were required for Boehner to seek a second ballot, the revolt’s failure may have come as a surprise to some of the dissenting representatives including Blum. 

Earlier this week the congressman told KWWL, “It's not worth casting a vote against Speaker Boehner if Speaker Boehner is going to win anyway. I haven’t made up my mind yet.”

Iowa State University political scientist Steffen Schmidt appeared today on Iowa Public Radio’s River to River. He says Blum’s vote will reap consequences as the new congressman finds his way in the House.

“How do you get along in an organization when you have someone in charge of it, which Boehner now is, who you have attacked, against whom you’ve voted?” Schmidt asks. “You know it’s going to be a difficult relationship.”

University of Northern Iowa political scientist Donna Hoffman, also as guest on River to River, agrees. She says Blum’s vote sets up the freshman for an inauspicious start in Congress.

“There very likely will be repercussions on that,” Hoffman says. “And it may not be things that you can just overtly see, but over time those kinds of things are added up in a tally sheet somewhere in the speaker’s office.”

Hoffman and Schmidt both say the congressman will likely have a harder time serving the 1st Congressional District than if had voted for Boehner. Two other Republicans who voted against the Ohio congressman have already lost their spots on the powerful House Rules Committee.                   

Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King of Kiron also voted against electing Boehner for a third term as speaker. His has publicly criticized Boehner’s leadership and led the revolt against the speaker’s bid to stay in the post.

David Young of Van Meter, Iowa’s other rookie House Republican, broke with his colleagues to cast his ballot for Boehner.