GOP Candidates Gear Up for Power Struggle as Elections Near

man putting ballot in a box during elections in america

The Republican Party has been upended in recent years, thanks to a small but vocal and powerful group of anti-establishment politicians.

Just this year, the establishment wing of the GOP has poured millions of dollars into the Republican primaries, hoping it will result in a House GOP conference that’s much less dysfunctional than it is now, according to a report written by Ally Mutnick in Politico.

Many donors and leaders within the party have won some key victories in this fight against the “far-right insurgents,” Mutnick writes, though there has been a big cost to those wins. It cost a lot of money, and took up an enormous amount of time, just to get their preferred candidate out of the primary election and onto the general election in November.

The stakes for the GOP primary elections that are still on the docket are quite high.

In just the next few weeks, a Florida seat will be contested between an establishment candidate and one that Representative Matt Gaetz has endorsed. Two open Republican seats in North Dakota and Colorado will be up for grabs. And two others that Mutnick characterized as “stops on Kevin McCarthy’s revenge tour” will be up for vote as well.

Republican Representative Don Bacon of Nebraska, who joined a coalition that has mobilized against Representative Bob Good, the chair of the House Freedom Caucus, commented:

“You’ve got to fight fire with fire. I don’t really like that generally. ‘Turn the other cheek’ is a better philosophy, but not in this situation.”

Since the House is likely to be controlled by a very small majority — whether it’s by Republicans again or by Democrats — every seat is crucial to the future of the lower chamber of Congress. The more establishment candidates the GOP can secure, the better chance this wing of the party has at pushing through legislation they want — without having to fight within their own party just to get enough votes.

Good is one of eight people in the House GOP who voted to oust McCarthy from his position as House Speaker late last year, and he’s in a primary election this month that is hotly contested.

Bacon has urged people who donate to his cause to support John McGuire, who’s running for the seat against Good. His pitch is:

“Do you want to help out somebody that will change the House for the better? More collegiality and teamwork and less infighting.”

The fight to reshape the GOP caucus has two parts, Mutnick wrote.

The first part is spending heavily in districts that have open seats to block any GOP candidate who is considered potentially problematic. The other part of the strategy is to spend against any incumbent who has already stymied the attempts by the GOP majority to govern how they want.

The task become much more urgent last October, when the eight GOP members came together to remove McCarthy from his position, following the motion to vacate that was put forth by Gaetz.