john boehner (walking in hallway)*(Via Yahoo News) – Despite nine defections from fellow Republicans, Ohio Rep. John Boehner was re-elected as Speaker of the House Thursday in a voice vote.

Most Republicans members, who retained a majority in the chamber after November’s election, supported Boehner’s re-election, and most Democrats voted for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Boehner’s grasp on his speakership seemed tenuous going into the vote.

He has come under fire from conservatives in recent weeks for supporting a fiscal cliff deal with President Barack Obama that allowed tax rates to increase. Several northeastern Republicans loudly criticized the Ohio congressman for stalling a $60 billion relief bill for states hit by Superstorm Sandy. Boehner has pledged to hold a vote on Sandy relief on Friday.

Before the speakership vote, rumors swirled that enough conservative Republicans would vote against Boehner to force a second ballot–some reporters took friendly bets on Boehner’s future–but they were unable to muster enough opposition to bring him down. Inside the House chamber Thursday, the defectors sat together in a clump near the the center of the aisle during the vote, and shouted several different nominees when their names were called.

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