So, what happens on January 3rd?
On January 3rd, the House of Representatives holds its next vote for Speaker of the House. You need to have a straight majority to win.
Historically, this is basically a rubber stamp moment… the majority party nominates its candidate, the minority party nominates its candidate, there’s a formal vote along party lines and the majority party’s candidate wins.
The Democrats will probably follow tradition and nominate Nancy Pelosi, who certainly won’t win without a Democratic majority in the House.
The Republicans… will they nominate John Boehner?
If they do, will enough of the tea party caucus vote for him to give him a majority? Wikipedia lists 124 Representatives with tea party affiliation. There are 201 Democrats, and 234 Republicans, which makes the GOP-but-not-tea-party group 110, or… a minority third party?
All 201 Democrats, on the first vote, will surely vote for Pelosi. I’m not so certain that John Boehner is going to net 218 votes, which is the minimum required to win the Speaker seat. After Plan B failed, I’m not certain that you’re going to get 114 of the 124 tea-party-affiliated GOP representatives to vote for Boehner.
Leaguers put their predictions in the comments.