WASHINGTON — US Rep. John Boehner will again serve as speaker of the House, re-elected by his colleagues just months after America's biggest arms makers helped fill his campaign war chest.

After much hand wringing by Washington insiders and some media outlets, House Boehner easily won re-election to the post. In an anti-climatic floor vote, the newly seated 114th Congress, via XXX-XXX vote, handed Boehner the gavel he has wielded since Jan. 5, 2011. (Twenty-nine Republicans would have had to defect to prevent a Boehner win.)

Boehner received a majority of the 408 votes cast, with Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi getting 164. Other House members received 25 votes. Conservative GOP Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Jeff Sessions of Alabama each got a vote. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell got a vote, and one lawmaker voted present.

Boehner's re-election places a longtime ally of the US military and defense sector back in the Speaker's office, with the Ohio Republican beating back challengers from the GOP's tea party wing. For the latest national security news from Capitol Hill, go to CongressWatch.Boehner for years has ranked among the top House members who have received sizable campaign donations from American weapon manufacturers. The 2014 midterm cycle, during which Boehner was easily re-elected, was no different.

Data compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics shows the defense sector donated $189,100 to Boehner's campaign coffers.

Of that amount, $70,601 came from four firms that Defense News' 2014 Top 100 list ranked among the world's five largest arms makers.

The annual ranking, compiled according to total defense revenues, put Lockheed Martin and Boeing in the Nos. 1 and 2 spots. Those firms donated $10,751 and $24,850 to Boehner's campaign accounts, respectively.

The next American firm on the list, Raytheon, gave Boehner $10,000. And the fourth-ranked US firm, Northrop Grumman, donated the same amount.

The next American company on the Top 100, General Dynamics, donated no campaign cash to the speaker.

But the fifth-ranked American defense firm, United Technologies, gave him $15,000.

And UK-based BAE Systems, which came in at No. 3 overall on the list, contributed $10,000.

That means of the $189,100, the top five US defense companies donated $70,601.

Throw in BAE, and the globe's five largest arms manufacturers accounted for over $80,000 of all defense dollars that went into Boehner's war chest.

Reps. Louis Gohmert of Texas and Ted Yoho of Florida were among those who ran against Boehner.

The center's data shows just how much more defense firms value their influence with and confidence in Boehner.

US arms makers collectively donated only $4,000 to Gohmert in the 2014 cycle, and $15,000 to Yoho.

But the defection of the Republican members shows Boehner's several years-long struggle in managing and appeasing the right wing of his caucus likely will continue in the new Congress.

"They've got problems with their own caucus," said Gordon Adams, who oversaw national defense budgeting for the Clinton administration.

To pass annual spending and authorization bills, like ones for the Defense Department, that can also pass the Senate and garner President Barack Obama's signature, Adams says an "important element here is leadership -- strong and weak."

"Strong leaders take appropriations issues out of the appropriators' hands, and that slows down the process," Adams said. "Strong leaders either negotiate big budget deals or they can't. And that slows the process down. When a leader is weak, like Boehner, then it's Katie bar the door. Members have the leverage on weak leaders."

The tea party wing of the House GOP caucus is composed of roughly 80 members. It has ample sway on Boehner and other Republican leaders.

For nearly five years, it helped create the environment that forced senior lawmakers and White House officials to settle on sequestration as a way to trim the federal deficit. And Boehner has repeatedly toyed with government shutdowns and been unable to strike the kind of fiscal deal with the White House that would end across-the-board defense cuts largely due to his conservative faction.

Several sources with GOP ties acknowledge Boehner's caucus will remain splintered this session. One major issue is whether Boehner will be able to pass spending bills with at least 218 GOP votes, sources said.

That means to get to the magic 218 mark with his members, the speaker again will struggle at times to keep his GOP tea party wing in line -- or rely on Democratic votes to pass some bills.

One GOP lobbyist, however, said the faction that voted against Boehner matters less because the Republican now have 247 seats, up from 234 in the last Congress.

"He's always going to have that first tier that are always going to vote against everything. So I don't think that impacts national defense very much," the GOP lobbyist said. "More broadly, now that the conference is bigger, he can still carry his position because you then go to the next tier, which is about 20 to 35 members, that he will have to negotiate with, and most of them [voted] for him."

Perhaps the divide between the speaker and his far-right wing is not as wide as the popular narrative describes.

For instance, "I think [ Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell and Boehner are in same place," he said. "They see that the budget caps that were implemented as having reined in government spending."

Among the conservative bloc members who voted against Boehner was House Armed Services Committee member Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla.

In a Jan. 2 op-ed, Bridenstine shed light on the faction's differences with the speaker. He used December's cromnibus spending legislation as an example, writing Boehner should have included provisions to turn back Obama's immigration executive action.

"With this vote, Republicans gave away the best tool available to rein in our liberal activist president: the power of the purse," the HASC member wrote. "The power of the purse is Congress' constitutional strength.

"The [cromnibus] legislation sufficiently undermines the checks and balances enshrined in the Constitution that it warrants my pending vote against the speaker," Bridenstine wrote. "John Boehner went too far when he teamed with Obama to advance this legislation. He relinquished the power of the purse, and with it he lost my vote."

Email: jbennett@gannett.com / Twitter: @bennettjohnt

More In Congress