McCarthy’s vengeance: what to know

After spending 16 years pursuing Speaker of the House, Rep. Kevin McCarthy was booted out, and now he wants revenge. What was a devastating ejection for the former speaker, has become a personal vendetta.

The Californian Republican is trying to make a comeback, and this time with a vengeance. Along with his allies, McCarthy is seeking to oust the eight GOP lawmakers who joined the opposite party to depose him.

Top McCarthy ally, Brian O. Walsh, is overseeing an attempt to recruit primary challengers to take on the “Gaetz Eight.” The “Gaetz Eight” is the Capitol’s nickname for Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and the seven Republicans who supported his push to fire McCarthy.

The revenge campaign is ready to put the former speaker’s considerable donor network on behalf of Republican primary candidates at the forefront of the campaign. These candidates are being deemed strong enough to pose a credible threat to one of the eight of the infamous “Gaetz Eight.”

“These traitors chose to side with Nancy Pelosi, AOC, and over 200 Democrats to undermine the institution, their fellow Republicans, and a duly elected speaker,” Walsh said. “There must be consequences for that decision.”

McCarthy’s allies have identified the most vulnerable in the primaries and, therefore, their ripest targets. These include Reps. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), Bob Good (R-Va.), and Eli Crane (R-Ariz.).

The work of McCarthy and his allies shows the intensity of his appetite for payback. It’s also a further sign that even out of office, the former speaker and his supporters have no problem making life difficult for detractors. Another sign that the House GOP power struggle within the Republican party is alive and well.

While the former speaker is not directly involved in the day-to-day work of the project, he is briefed on its progress and is in direct communication with his ally, Walsh. McCarthy’s closest allies warned that his eight defectors should fear his influence from afar. Mcarthy made it clear even before retiring from his ousted position how angry he was and argued that Gaetz belongs in jail. He even went as far as to get into an alleged physical altercation with another of the eight, Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.).

“One of the most dangerous things that you could do is have an untethered McCarthy,” said Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.), a former top lieutenant of the ex-speaker.


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