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From GAO to House Speaker?

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House Speaker John Boehner was reeelected to his post Thursday, in a development that wasn't exactly shocking. What was a little surprising was the other people who won support from House GOPers. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., got three votes from Republicans presumably disgruntled with Boehner's leadership. Former Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., also got a couple of votes from dissenters.

But perhaps the most unexpected vote came from Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C. He declared his support for David M. Walker, fiscal reformer, current leader of the Comeback America Initiative and former head of the Government Accountability Office. That left Walker 216 votes short of assuming the speakership.

It's a little-known fact that the House speaker does not need to be a sitting member of the body. House members can vote for whoever they think would be an able leader -- and second in line to the presidency. (No non-Representative has ever been elected speaker, though.)

"I was surprised and appreciate Congressman Jones' vote, Walker tweeted. "We did not speak about it in advance. Congrats to Speaker Boehner."

Tom Shoop is vice president and editor in chief at Government Executive Media Group, where he oversees both print and online editorial operations. He started as associate editor of Government Executive magazine in 1989; launched the company’s flagship website, GovExec.com, in 1996; and was named editor in chief in 2007.

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