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Mr. Boehner entered the House in 1991 as a windows-rattling reformer. He joined the “Gang of Seven” that insisted on naming all 355 members with overdrafts at the House Bank, a damaging scandal.

And he long has opposed earmark spending, which some lawmakers use to steer pet projects to their districts. It’s a favorite conservative target this year.

Mr. Boehner was a key ally of Rep. Newt Gingrich when the firebrand Georgia lawmaker led the 1994 Republican revolution that ended four decades of Democratic House control. But Mr. Boehner lost his leadership post in the turmoil that followed the speaker’s downfall in 1998. Boehner spent years quietly cultivating friendships with colleagues and planning his return to power, which came in 2005.

Now possibly on the cusp of nationwide recognition and clout, Mr. Boehner is a solid choice for a Republican Party that must harness and direct its emotions if it is to regain the ground it lost in the last two elections, said Rep. Jack Kingston, Georgia Republican.

Mr. Kingston, an 18-year House veteran who has had his own turns in the GOP leadership, said Mr. Boehner “is a known quantity. He’s not going to be saying anything stupid or doing anything stupid.”

Mr. Boehner may lack Mr. Gingrich’s revolutionary zeal and intellectual bent, Mr. Kingston said, but he has a steadier grasp of intramural politics.

“He’d be better able to manage that new, hard-energy reform crowd than Newt,” Mr. Kingston said, adding that the House “is a political body, not an ideological body.”