The talk for weeks has been questions on whether House Speaker John Boehner, will be keeping his job. Now a name is attached to the discussions about ousting the man with the “biggest gavel,” Tom Price of Georgia’s 6th congressional district.
The Hill quotes one anonymous aide as saying:
Price is the person we’re all watching. We know he’s frustrated, but we don’t know much else.
Of course Price’s office released a statement dismissing the rumors only an hour ago:
Congressman Price is not running for speaker. He is focused on real solutions to get America back on track. Those solutions reside in fundamental principles that embrace individual opportunity and economic freedom.
While a denial, it does leave the door open, should the debt ceiling negotiations break down. It was not that long ago where several other Tea Party congressman lost prized committee seats due to Boehner’s meddling. Even Congressman Price failed to gain the seat he was aiming for thanks to the speaker. In speaking of the negotiations, Congressman Price had this to say:
My concern is that within our conference, conservatives, who are a majority, don’t have a proper platform. That’s true at the leadership table and on the steering committee.
If the speaker listens to the conference and agrees to not raise taxes, he’ll be successful. So far, I think the speaker is doing that. But we’ve got to watch what happens.
It is widely speculated that Price has his eye on the senate seat of Saxby Chambliss, and will offer a primary challenge to the two-term senator from Georgia. An unsuccessful challenge to Boehner would solidify his Tea Party credentials before such a fight. However, a successful challenge to the current Speaker of the House would torpedo this ambition. He would be then viewed as being disinterested in his job as Speaker, and would have a far greater challenge come 2014 to oust Senator Chambliss.
It is quite possible that the reason for the lack of a challenge has not to do with Congressman Price being concerned of losing the seat, but of winning it, and that Speaker Boehner is in a far weaker position politically than people think. Time will tell, as the debt ceiling negotiations grind on. If Boehner fails to keep his caucus together, as with the last debt ceiling negotiation when his caucus turned on the speaker, even if he fails to have a challenger, he would become speaker in name only.