U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Fla., had been the choice for House speaker among some of the more conservative members who opposed John Boehner’s constant deal-making with President Obama.
Then Boehner announced his resignation, and the conservative side of the House lit up with hope.
But the establishment Republican promotion of Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. – Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential running mate in 2012 – and his acceptance by the conservative House Freedom Caucus put a quick halt to Webster-for-speaker.
Webster, nevertheless, is still challenging Ryan for the speaker and is using his effort to raise funds for his re-election campaign for his House seat
His campaign sent out an email stating: “We took down Boehner. Now the vote to replace Boehner as Speaker of the House is less than TWO days away. Will you donate $25, $50, or more to help me become the next Speaker of the House?”
Politico, however, concludes Webster “stands basically no chance of becoming the next speaker” as conservatives “have rallied behind Rep. Paul Ryan, who is expected to ascend to the position Thursday afternoon.”
Also, Politico noted, Webster is not one of the four co-sponsors of the motion to vacate the speakership that targeted Boehner, which was introduced by Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C.
A short time later, Webster’s campaign sent out another message.
“Friend – we took down Boehner,” it said. “NOW, the vote to replace Boehner as Speaker of the House is less than 36 hours away. Will you donate $25, $50, or more to help me become the next Speaker of the House?”
The message continued: “Friend, I’m emailing you today because my staff has identified you as a true grassroots conservative — our best hope at capturing the Speakership. You see: I’m the only conservative running, and the only person who has been fully endorsed by The Freedom Caucus. We secured a victory in getting Boehner to resign, but that is just the first step in ending Congress’s capitulation to Obama and the Democrats.”
He requested that supporters “chip in to my campaign immediately – the election is in less than two days.”
He also asked supporters to call their own member of Congress “and direct them to vote for me to be the next speaker in the leadership election set to be held on October 28th.”
Critics argue the campaign for the speakership should require little or no expenses, because it’s just a vote of House members. They questioned if the fundraising is for his regular campaign, why was he discussing the fight for the speaker’s office?
On Twitter, several supporters continued to encourage votes for Webster, including Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., who said, “My choice for #Speaker remains @RepWebster.”
Webster also said, “My battle is against the institution in Washington.”
Earlier, he said he’s running for speaker “to transform a broken congress based on the power of a few into a principle-based, member-driven congress.”
“I will continue to share my vision of pushing down the pyramid of power and spreading out the base to allow each member to be successful.”
At Florida Politics, a commentary noted Ryan already has “won support from all three wings of the House’s factionalized Republicans.”
Webster was the first pick of the House Freedom Caucus, Florida Politics said, and while the caucus later declined to endorse Ryan, “he did receive about 70 percent support from the group.”
“Webster is not only trying to defy the overwhelming odds against him to become the next House speaker, he’s also got problems at home. His previously safe Congressional District 10 seat is likely to be radically altered when the Florida Supreme Court approves the newly drawn up maps approved by Circuit Judge Terry Lewis,” the report said.
Webster emailed Breitbart that his name still was in the hat for the speaker’s post.
“I am committed to governing in a principled, member-driven manner,” Webster told Breitbart Monday evening. “I am running for speaker because the transformation of the way we do business is possible if we seize this opportunity.”
Ryan has several unresolved issues pending in his campaign for the job, including his demand that the House change its rules to make it harder to call for a change in leadership.
He’s also seen by many as being on the wrong side of fights this week to raise the debt ceiling and approve a massive spending increase that would ensure Obama no longer has to be concerned about the issue.
But that may not slow down his campaign. Reuters’ David Lawder reported House Freedom Caucus leaders said it was too late to stop an extension of the federal debt ceiling this week, but they will not hold it against Ryan.
House Freedom Caucus founders Reps. Meadows, Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., founders said there was not enough time for House Republicans to rally around a list of demands for raising the $18.1 trillion U.S. borrowing limit.
The Washington Times called on the House to elect Ryan as speaker but also to make Webster “a leadership partner, perhaps as majority leader.”