And the linchpin of the emerging conservative “oust-Boehner” strategy rests on the House rule that to be elected as speaker, a candidate must receive an “absolute majority” of all House member votes cast for individuals.

Details contained in a Congressional Research Service analysis dated Jan. 6, 2011, titled, “Speakers of the House: Elections, 1913-2011,” confirm that a concerted effort by as few as 17 House conservatives could–in fact–throw this normally routine reelection process for Boehner into turmoil.

“Members normally vote for the [speaker] candidate of their own party conference, but may vote for any individual, whether nominated or not,” states the CRS report. “To be elected, a candidate must receive an absolute majority of all the votes cast for individuals. This number may be less than a majority (which will be 218) of the full membership of the House, because of vacancies, absentees, or members voting ‘present.’ ”

In short, with Jackson having retired, as few as 17 House Republican members now can deny Boehner an “absolute majority” of the total 434 expected votes on Jan. 3, if all the Democrats back Pelosi.