Rep. Raul Labrador expects a backlash to his support for Rep. John Boehner for another term as House speaker.
Labrador, an Idaho Republican, abstained from voting for Boehner in 2013 for the speakership, saying that there was no candidate for the post that he considered worthy.
But on Tuesday, he voted for Boehner, an Ohio Republican, despite an effort by Labrador’s conservative colleagues to defeat his pursuit of another term as speaker.
In a text on his phone that was photographed by a Politico journalist who was sitting in the balcony of the House, behind where Labrador was sitting on the floor, the Idaho lawmaker wrote: “The votes are not there against Boehner. I led the effort last time. … Now we need 35 and they only have 15 at most. There’s no way to get to 35.”
A spokesman for Labrador was quoted in Politico afterward as explaining that Labrador had written the text in response to “a longtime constituent and supporter, and he was explaining to her his vote.”
Boehner was re-elected speaker with 216 votes in his favor.
Labrador then said on his Facebook page that he knows his change of heart in supporting Boehner—who many conservatives say is too much of a Washington D.C. insider—is not sitting well with many in his district. He sought to reassure constituents that his support for Boehner does not amount to be a sell-out.
“I can’t blame many of my supporters for being upset with my vote for Speaker Boehner,” Labrador wrote. “I ask, however, that they consider not just a single vote but my long record as a champion of conservative values who stands up to the establishment. Mr. Boehner, who was assured reelection, sought my help in moving the House in a more conservative direction. I will hold him accountable to that commitment.”