You want to be speaker of the House? Here’s how.
We should get one thing out of the way first. You don’t actually have to be a member of the House to be speaker of the House, although they always have been. Really, you don’t even have to be a lawmaker. (Video via the White House)
The U.S. Constitution doesn't provide much guidance on the subject, except to say the House "shall choose their speaker."
Not the entire House — but a majority of members present.
Assuming all 435 House members show up to vote, you’d have to get 218 of them to vote for you.
So if you’re a Republican running to replace John Boehner — and assuming no Democrats vote for you — you’re going to need 218 of the 247 House Republicans to vote yes. That’s a pretty high bar. All it takes is a small, but vocal minority of 30 Republicans to keep the party from deciding on a new leader.
And in that case, if no one gets a majority, the House votes again. And again. Until someone gets a majority. (video via Office of House Speaker John Boehner)
That’s not unheard of, but it hasn’t happened since 1923 when it took the House nine ballots to elect Frederick Gillett.