After more than 25 years of service in the Florida legislature, Daniel Webster is a known quantity, but he obtained national stature when he became one of handful of Republicans to challenge John Boehner for the speakership.
"I just said I'll do it. I'll allow my name to be offered up, because I was so disturbed about where we were headed, and I thought maybe we could shake things up," recalled Webster in an interview with The Hill
Webster, who had been courted numerous times to run for the House of Representatives, had not been actively lobbying colleagues unlike Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert and Florida Rep. Ted Yoho, who also sought the leadership spot, and had to be encouraged to throw his hat into the race.
What had inspired his colleagues to urge Webster to run was a white paper he wrote last fall and circulated among the caucus outlining what a Republican agenda should be in the 115th Congress, reports The Orlando Sentinel
After the final tally, Webster's low-key style had earned him 12 votes, including his own vote, while Yoho and Gohmert received fewer combined votes.
After the votes were cast, Webster issued a statement
characterizing his candidacy as "a vote for initiating a process that I know can produce sound public policy for the people who sent us to Washington on their behalf," rather than a vote against Boehner or one based on policy.
Whether it was retribution
or not, Webster and fellow Floridian Rep. Rich Nugent, who voted for him, lost their seats
on the House Rules Committee after the leadership election.
Webster said his position on the House Rules Committee remains "in limbo."
His focus on the management of the legislative process is a trait which drove him as speaker of the Florida House to cast sunshine on how bills are written and to have business conducted in a way that was "member-driven" and presented more opportunities to offer amendments.
"He's a process guy and he believes in order. He really ran a very orderly ship," Rep. Lois Frankel, a Democrat and former Florida House minority leader, told The Hill.
While Webster has moved on from his failed bid to unseat Boehner, he appears intent on working to change the way Congress has operated in recent years.
Following remarks Boehner made today at the Republican National Committee's winter meeting cautioning members not to expect the Senate will approve every bill approved by the House, Webster expressed his commitment to improving the process.
"It's going to be better than it was, but the House still proposes and the Senate still disposes. You just sort of forget that they're not going to be able to operate like we operate. But it's going to be better, that's the great promise, and I think people will be happy about that," said Webster, according to Politico
A member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Webster was first elected in 2010, defeating the fiery and controversial Democrat Alan Grayson who had labeled him as "Taliban Dan."
While he easily won re-election in 2012, the Floridian's path back to the House in 2014 was thrown off track when his seat became embroiled in a legal challenge to how the state drew several districts after the 2010 Census.
In July, a judge ruled his district and the seat held by Democrat Rep. Corrine Brown were in violation of the state constitution's Fair District Amendments and therefore were unconstitutional.
The "Fair Districts" amendment, which was approved by Florida voters in 2010, requires districts to be drawn in a "compact" manner and "where feasible, utilize existing political and geographical boundaries," according to The Palm Beach Post
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