Tea Party activist David Lewis, a 26-year-old married father, announced Friday that he will challenge the Ohio Republican. But Lewis is mounting a protest candidacy on a single issue: Boehner’s support of a federal budget that provided funding to Planned Parenthood.
Lewis plans to unveil graphic anti-abortion ads on his website Monday.
“I’m not delusional. I don’t know if I have a chance at beating the speaker of the House,” Lewis told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “But what I can do is show the Ohio voters that Boehner has a box full of empty rhetoric. He doesn’t really vote for his convictions. He’s an establishment Republican. He doesn’t believe in the Tea Party. He doesn’t really believe in the pro-life issues.”
Lewis doesn’t live in Boehner’s district now; he lives in Rep. Jean Schmidt's district. But he told the newspaper that he would move there if he wins the primary.
Boehner’s office declined to comment to the newspaper on Lewis’ candidacy.
But Dave Kern, chairman of the local GOP, defended Boehner to the newspaper.
“I have no issue on educating the public on the wrongs of abortion. But I think the young man is mistaken to try to do damage to a committed soldier in this battle,” he said. “His efforts could be spent more productively in other directions and that’s certainly what I would advise.”
Tea Party activists have been unhappy with Boehner ever since he cut a budget deal with the White House in April to avoid a government shutdown. The deal to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30 included $38.5 billion in spending cuts --which fell way short of Boehner’s campaign pledge to cut $100 billion and the $61 billion that the GOP-led House approved in March.
Republicans had fought to ban federal funds for Planned Parenthood, a health care services provider that is also the nation’s largest provider of abortions. But Democrats rejected the proposal. Republicans settled on a compromise to distribute federal funds for family planning and related health services to the states rather than directly to Planned Parenthood and other organizations.
Tea Party Nation found Judson Phillips told FoxNews.com at the time that Boehner needed to be held accountable for his campaign pledges.
“This is the one message the Tea Party needs to be out there pushing,” he said. “If you don’t live up to your promise, we’re going to throw you out.”
Boehner won his last primary in 2010 with 85 percent of the vote in a three-way race.