RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
For a handful of Republican congressmen, the new legislative session opened not with a spirit of cooperation but with an act of defiance. It happened Thursday, as each member of the House of Representatives cast a vote for their party's leader.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: The roll now will be called. And those responding to their names will indicate by surname the nominee of their choosing.
MARTIN: The clerk ticked through the roster alphabetically. Early on, there were rumors of a possible coup to oust Speaker John Boehner, a rebellion by some Republicans unhappy with his leadership. But as the clerk got to the Ys, it became clear the Speaker would have enough votes to keep his job.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Yoder.
REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN YODER: John Boehner.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Boehner.
MARTIN: But then with just one vote needed to seal the deal, the clerk called on a freshly minted congressman from Florida.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Yoho.
MARTIN: And rather than handing Boehner the victory, freshman Ted Yoho took a stand.
REPRESENTATIVE TED YOHO: Eric Cantor.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Cantor.
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MARTIN: Murmurs broke out of the floor. Yoho was one of 12 Republicans who didn't support Boehner. But he still won enough votes to remain speaker of the House. Congressman Yoho later told CNN that his vote was a message of sorts.
YOHO: What I did is - what we did is we are challenging leadership to let them know we're going to hold them accountable just like I get held accountable in my district by my constituents. And we want to let them know that we're watching.
MARTIN: And no doubt Speaker Boehner will be watching Congressman Yoho and other restive Republicans right back.
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MARTIN: And you're listening to NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.