Boehner elected House majority leader
Republicans choose Ohio lawmaker to succeed DeLay
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(CNN) -- House Republicans on Thursday elected U.S. Rep. John Boehner of Ohio as majority leader.
He upset Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri in a 122-109 vote on the second ballot. Rep. John Shadegg of Arizona dropped out of the running after the first ballot.
After the vote, Boehner said "It's been a well-fought race."
"Our members wanted to, obviously, make a big decision, and they did," Boehner said. (Watch Boehner after winning the post -- :55)
"What you're going to see us do is rededicate ourselves to dealing with issues -- big Issues -- that the American people expect us to deal with."
Blunt, who was re-elected as majority whip, the No. 3 leadership position, said "I'm absolutely at peace with" the decision.
Blunt, who was the front-runner going into today's meeting, said he promised during the race to say only nice things about Boehner when he called members seeking their support, but, after losing the vote, he joked "I might have overdone it a bit."
Boehner is an eight-term congressman from the Cincinnati area. He served in the GOP leadership after the Republicans won control of both houses of Congress in 1994, but he was bounced out after they lost seats in the 1998 elections. (View a profile of Rep. Boehner)
He had offered himself as a reform candidate to succeed Tom DeLay, who faces money-laundering charges in his home state of Texas.
Boehner's ascension comes as other Republicans have raised concerns about an extensive influence-peddling probe involving lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who pleaded guilty to corruption charges in January and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.
DeLay announced January 7 that he would not try to reclaim the House majority leader post, although he said he will seek re-election in his Houston area district in November. DeLay also has ties to Abramoff.
The race for majority leader appeared to turn on the desire for members to present a fresh face to the public and distance themselves from Washington's K Street, or lobbyist, community.
Blunt was a part of DeLay's leadership team and has ties to K Street.
Going into the 2006 elections, House Republicans enjoy a 232-203 majority over Democrats and one independent.
The Democratic leadership has accused the GOP of a "culture of corruption," and the minority party's candidates plan to make ethics a main issue in this year's campaigns.
A recent CNN poll found that 40 percent of those interviewed believed that Democrats would do a better job of dealing with corruption, while 32 percent thought Republicans would do better.
Nineteen percent believe there is no difference between the parties as far as corruption issues.
The results were based on interviews conducted January 20-22 with 506 Americans and had a plus or minus margin of error of 4 percent.
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