Fearing a tea party insurrection, House Speaker John Boehner could step down pre-emptively after the 2014 midterm elections, current and former aides say.

The Huffington Post spoke to a dozen anonymous but reportedly informed Republicans who say it is unlikely Boehner will remain speaker, unless he can win a deal to cut government spending.

Although the Ohio Republican has dismissed talk of leaving office, he may not have a choice in the matter. Conservative tea party Republicans may have the votes to block the speaker’s continued leadership. If he leaves early, Boehner could be seen as an establishment Republican who got sick of wrangling with the fringe of his party, rather than an establishment Republican who got tossed out by the fringe of his party.

“The natural assumption is that he leaves,” a GOP operative told The Huffington Post. “It’s the overwhelming, working assumption as people are making strategy going into 2015 and 2016.”

Yet power is seductive, and it might be difficult for Boehner to lay down the gavel willingly.

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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