Mr. Boehner received 122 votes to 109 for Mr. Blunt in a runoff made necessary by an inconclusive first ballot. The victory for Mr. Boehner signaled that many House Republicans are uneasy about the lobbying scandals that threaten to tar some of their party colleagues, and that they perhaps wanted far more change than Mr. Blunt seemed to promise.
The defeat must have been galling for Mr. Blunt, the party whip who had been serving as interim majority leader and had seemed confident of victory. But he was smiling and gracious in defeat, saying “The world goes on.” He said Mr. Boehner and he “are great friends” and that he looked forward to working with him.
The first ballot ended inconclusively, with Mr. Blunt earning 110 votes (7 short of victory), Mr. Boehner 79 and Representative John Shadegg of Arizona 40. Representative Jim Ryun of Kansas, the world-class miler of the 1960’s, got two votes.
Mr. Shadegg and Mr. Ryun, who had not been an announced candidate for the post, then withdrew, leaving Mr. Boehner and Mr. Blunt to battle for a majority. Mr. Shadegg’s followers then gravitated to Mr. Boehner.