Southern New Mexico Rep. Steve Pearce was among nine Republicans who voted against re-electing John Boehner as speaker of the House Thursday.

"Congressman Pearce voted for a new voice to represent the House in negotiations going forward," Pearce spokesman Eric Layer said. "He believes that Speaker Boehner is taking us in the wrong direction. Congressman Pearce was unable to support the tax plan brought before the House on Tuesday, and feels that he is no longer able to support the negotiator."

Pearce was one of three GOP congressmen to vote for Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia as speaker. Cantor, who did not seek the speaker position, was re-elected as majority leader, the No. 2 position in the House.

Boehner was re-elected as speaker with 220 votes, six more than needed for election.

The speaker's relative narrow margin of victory is evidence of a fractured Republican caucus, which will inhibit Boehner's effectiveness over the next two years, said two experts on Congress.

"I think Boehner was significantly hurt by the way the tax bill was resolved in the past few days. He's had a problem with the far right in his caucus for a while, and that continues to reveal itself," said James Thurber, the director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University in Washington, D.C.

"He doesn't have strong followers, therefore it limits him in his ability to negotiate," Thurber said.

Sarah Binder, a fellow at the Brookings Institute and a professor of political science at George Washington University in Washington, said the vote "captures the grumblings of the right flank of the GOP conference about Boehner's leadership of the party."

"I'm not sure the vote in itself will have a direct impact on Boehner's ability to govern the conference over the next two years. Instead, I see the vote as part and parcel of the many other signals we've seen of the disagreements across the conference the Plan B debacle, Boehner's booting of the four dissidents from their committees, and the last day of disarray over the fate of the fiscal cliff deal," Binder said. "In short, I think today's vote is a signal of the rough ahead for the Speaker in defining party positions and pursuing them."

Binder and Thurber said Pearce took some risk in voting against Boehner, which could limit the New Mexico congressman's ability to get leadership help on key issues for his district.

"He's not a favored person. Maybe he doesn't want to be a favored person, maybe he doesn't care about that," Thurber said.

Binder said speakers have limited powers to punish members.

"In short, legislative party leaders have more carrots (campaigning, contributions, scheduling favors) than sticks. Although I suspect Pearce won't be punished with sticks, I could imagine the leadership witholding the carrots," she said. "No special treatment for Pearce and his fellow defectors."

Robert Moore may be reached at bmoore@elpasotimes.com. Follow him on Twitter @BobMooreNews