UPDATED: Rep. Paul Broun supported tea party ex-congressman Allen West for speaker.
House Speaker John Boehner won re-election to the leadership post today, but not without a few Republican defections.
Reps. Paul Broun, R-Athens, and Louie Gohmert, R-TX, cast their votes for Allen West, a Florida Republican who lost his seat to Democrat Patrick Murphy in November. West is nationally known for abusing an Iraqi prisoner of war, feuding with fellow Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and telling his wife to be his porn star. Like Broun, he's also fond of calling Democrats Nazis and Communists.
Broun, who voted against the fiscal cliff deal, explained his vote thusly to the AJC:
"After careful consideration, I opted to cast my vote for a new Speaker of the House. Speaker Boehner is a good man and a good friend, but under his leadership, this Congress has failed to address the root of our nation’s fiscal crisis — the out-of-control spending in Washington. My hope was that we could elect a new speaker, so the 113th Congress would be forced to get serious about cutting spending and restoring prosperity to the American economy and people."
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former Comptroller General David Walker and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-VA, also won Republican votes. (Apparently, the speaker doesn't have to be a member of Congress.) Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, won all but a handful of Democratic votes. One of them was Rep. John Barrow, D-Augusta, who voted for another Georgia Democrat, Rep. John Lewis.