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Dan Webster Readies to Take On Paul Ryan for House Speakership

October 27, 2015 - 1:30pm
Dan Webster and Paul Ryan
Dan Webster and Paul Ryan

U.S. Rep. Dan Webster, R-Fla., made a last minute pitch to become the next speaker of the U.S. House even as U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc. is the favorite to be selected later this week. 

With U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, announcing at the end of last month that he would step down at the end of October, Webster threw his name into the hat for another speakership bid. Earlier this year, Webster was Boehner’s main challenger, gaining 12 votes against the speaker but getting kicked off the powerful U.S. House Rules Committee after his bid failed.

Webster had two rivals also seeking the gavel: U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah. But McCarthy fell up short of votes and pulled his name out of the mix while Chaffetz bowed out as rumors grew that Ryan, who had been lukewarm at first, entered into the mix. McCarthy had been the favorite to replace Bohener, but enough conservatives in the Republican caucus opposed him to deny him the speakership. But the core of that opposition was the House Freedom Caucus which had backed Webster but a majority of its members are now behind Ryan. 

Despite being an underdog against Ryan, Webster sounded confident on Tuesday in an email to supporters. 

“We took down Boehner,” Webster noted.  “Now the vote to replace Boehner as speaker of the House is less than 36 hours away. “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.

“I've been backed by my conservative colleagues -- Rep. Mark Meadows, Rep. Thomas Massie and Rep. Steve King just to name a few -- but the support of the Freedom Caucus is not enough,” Webster added, calling on conservatives to urge their representatives to back him in the leadership vote on Wednesday. 

“It's time we disrupt the business-as-usual power brokering in Washington D.C. and make sure we have a legislative process based upon principle, not upon power,” Webster insisted. 

Webster has been able to count on the support of some members of the Florida delegation including U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., who also challenged Boehner for the gavel earlier this year. But not all Florida Republicans are behind Webster. Last week, U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., took to the cable airwaves appearing on the “The Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell” to weigh in on the House elections and left no doubt he was behind Ryan. 

“Through his continued ability to work with both Republicans and Democrats, including the White House, I am confident that Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee Paul Ryan is the right person to lead Congress as the next speaker of the House,” Curbelo insisted on Thursday night. 

As congressional redistricting continues to remain unsettled in Florida, Webster’s future remains cloudy. Under the base map used by the Legislature in a special session last month to tackle redistricting, Webster would have faced a far more Democratic district than his current one, prompting some major Democratic candidates to line up against him. Former Orlando Police Chief Val Demings, who Webster barely beat in 2012, and state Sen. Geri Thompson, D-Orlando, have already launched bids against Webster.

Webster currently represents parts of Orange and Polk counties and most of Lake County. Under the base map the Legislature is using for congressional redistricting, his new district would be far more Democratic, taking in only parts of Orange County and bringing in 150,000 voters -- more than 90,000 of them Democrats -- currently represented by U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla.

Webster testified before the joint legislative committee tackling redistricting in Tallahassee last month and tore into the base map. 

“The new plan disfavors incumbents,” Webster told the committee. “An affirmative vote for this plan ... is a specific intent to disfavor me as an incumbent.”

The Republican congressman even insisted the base map “makes the seat uncompetitive for anyone in my party" and was built to “eliminate an incumbent.” 

Webster has been in Florida politics since 1980 when he was first elected to the state House. A staunch conservative, he served longer in the Legislature than anyone else in Florida history, leading the GOP caucus in the House before becoming the first Republican speaker since Reconstruction after the 1996 elections. 

After facing term limits in 1998, Webster moved on to the Senate. While he failed in his efforts to become Senate president, he did serve as Senate majority leader. Turning his eyes to federal office once he faced term limits in the Senate, Webster blew out U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., in 2010, but two years later, in a far better year for Democrats, he almost lost to Demings. 

Webster’s been honored in his district and in Tallahassee with everything from a section of SR 429 to a room in the state Capitol named after him. But none of the maps advancing in the Legislature this week are helping his chances for a fourth term. 

Democrats tried to recruit Demings to take on Webster in 2014 but she explored looking at county office instead. Demings announced she would run against the Republican congressman again. In 2012, Webster beat Demings 52 percent to 48 percent. 

Reach Kevin Derby at or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN


We need to get rid of the tea party loons before they finish ruining my party and my country. Being a RINO means you're smart and that you care about your fellow citizens and not just yourself, Among other things.

At least one person with a brain. Ryan is absolutely the worst. Maybe Boehner wasn't so bad after all.

Dan Webster is a true conservative and will not back down when the media go after him for being politically incorrect as other Republicans have. When you think of Dan Webster think of Jim DeMint.

Dan Webster was for the selling of American infrastructure under Daddy Bush's executive order 12803. Hardly the action of an honest man who makes an oath to defend the constitution. He ran on cut the funding, what a picture of a water faucet with cash flowing out of it in 2010. Again he lied when he voted for Obama's debt ceiling.So help me God in his oath was using God's Name in Vain as he lied.

Does is really matter who will be the new Speaker of the House? Over 240 crazy GOP cats running around to their own wishes and desires. Each one has voted to REPEAL AND REPLACE OBAMACARE over 60 times!!!! Yet not one has teh Ba* ls to write a complete new healthcare bill to REPLACE Obamacare.!!!!!! Obamacare was signed into law over 6 years ago!!!! Where is the HOUSE GOP Passed Bill to REPLACE Obamacare?? Again: Where is the HOUSE GOP Passed Bill to REPLACE Obamacare?? What a bunch of losers all the GOP House members are!!!! Congressman Ryan will last about 3 weeks and then say: "I said earlier my family comes first! BYE! BYE!"""" CHEERS!

As you always say, yourself, Hillary, your comment above is just POLITICS as usual coming out of your mouth... Then, we all remember, "Oh, we forgot. It's OK for Hillary to say it... but don't dare any of the rest of us say it." Guess I'll just have to say it anyhow... OBAMA CARE WAS signed into law over six years ago--WHY? "Because they had to sign it into law in order to find out what is in it!" to quote the then Madam Speaker. Since then those "bunch of losers," as you call them, have fought tirelessly to put a STOP to the mess you Democrats have created of our healthcare system. Believe me, Mrs Clinton, NOBODY in the Republican party wants to REPLACE OBAMA CARE. They want to deal a death blow to it and work on SANE ways to give our RIGHTS back to us... WE THE PEOPLE! We, the people, do not happen to believe that your lifestyle, your family, your beliefs, your scheming, or anything else that you do IS GOOD FOR We The PEOPLE! We'll SEAL THAT DEAL in the Presidential Election, just so you will have it in WRITING!

I hope Webster wins,we need a conservative,not another RINO

How could you not want someone named Daniel Webster as Speaker?

Too funny!! Webster who can't even win next election is running to destroy the repubs to all but a small minority is great!!------------------------------- Tea party is getting lower and lower in standings and this is another nail in that coffin.--------------------------- Now add Jolly's seat and another in Tampa making 3 repub house losses likely next election means not only will the tea party not win the presidency but likely to lose the Senate and maybe even the house!!! ------------------------------ As for Ryan he is a fool giving up a good job for herding cats that won't be satisfied until the government has shrank to small enough to drown in a bathtub!!----------------------------------- So thank you tea party for showing America just how stupid the repub party is.---------------------------------- And please don't pass the debt ceiling and shut down the government to make your points. Nothing says ignorant fools better than that.

Ha, Ha! You wish! Dream on... ;)

Mr. Webster will not even come close because 'nice guys finish last' and Mr. Webster is finding out who his friends are NOT! He's even about to lose his seat in Floriduh's newest redistricting fiasco!

I would love to have Webster as Speaker.. i think he'd be great - He tried before to get Boehner out but they wouldn't stand with him.. I'm going to ask my reb to vote for Webster.. Best of luck this time around.

Putting in Ryan is just "politics as usual". Conservatives do NOT want Ryan. We will be watching who votes for Ryan . . . . . .and will be voting against them when they come up for reelection. Ryan came to FL with Boehner and raised PAC money to work against Tea Party candidates. He is the same as Boehner. I will NOT vote for anyone who supports Ryan for Speaker.

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