Operation 2014: Tea Party Groups Target John Boehner

House Speaker John Boehner takes heat from tea party groups.

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House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio pauses while meeting with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014.
The Tea Party Leadership Fund plans to draft a primary challenger who can banish House Speaker John Boehner from Congress.

The tea party won't be bullied, not even by powerful House Speaker John Boehner.

In a bitter message, the Tea Party Leadership Fund, a campaign fundraising group, warned Boehner's time as speaker was limited. Their plan is to draft a primary challenger who can banish Boehner from Congress this year.

"John Boehner had declared war on conservatives demanding lower taxes and limited government," said Rusty Humphries, a spokesman for the Tea Party Leadership Fund in a release Friday. "Today we declare war on him. We intend to send a message to his fellow 'Republicans In Name Only' that such ideologically bankrupt leadership must come to an end."

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Boehner lashed out at conservative groups in December who were lobbying against House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's carefully crafted funding bill before the language was even announced. Not once, but twice, Boehner told groups to lay off.

"I think they're misleading their followers," Boehner chided during a press conference in December. "I think they're pushing our members in places where they don't want to be. And frankly, I just think that they've lost all credibility." Credible or not, those groups say they are striking back in 2014.

The Tea Party Leadership Fund is spending more than $23,000 to run television ads in Boehner's southern Ohio district and has also commissioned a polling firm to survey Boehner's popularity back home. The Tea Party Leadership Fund is even circulating a petition to get 1 million signatures in support of their efforts.

"The Republicans don't stand for anything except surrender," Humphries said.

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Unseating Boehner, of course, will be a difficult task. The veteran pol has more than $2.7 million cash-on-hand and even after the government shutdown, maintained support from constituents back home.

It's a far cry from where tea party groups were with Boehner in October. Faced with a caucus full of lawmakers ready to shut down the government and stop Obamacare, Boehner let the most conservative members of his caucus have their way.

In the weeks that followed, Boehner appeared to be mending relationships with Capitol Hill's far right flank.

How quickly things change. 

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