Kevin McCarthy and his allies on Capitol Hill are threatening “consequences” for the “traitors” who removed the former House Speaker. Brian O. Walsh – a close McCarthy friend who runs an establishment political consultancy called Red Elephant – is working to recruit primary challengers to take on the eight Republicans who led the effort to oust the Californian as Speaker last year.
McCarthy and Walsh are preparing a ‘revenge tour’ — using the former Speaker’s donor network to raise funds to back the primary challengers.
“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,” Brian O. Walsh said in a statement. “There must be consequences for that decision.”
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) filed a ‘motion to vacate’ against then-Speaker McCarthy after the Republican leader pushed through a temporary government funding measure without any attached spending cuts. A group of House conservatives led by Gaetz argued that McCarthy had violated an agreement he made at the start of 2023, which had secured the votes for his Speakership. Before McCarthy’s ouster, no Speaker had ever been successfully removed by a ‘motion to vacate.’
Almost immediately after his ouster, McCarthy began plotting his political revenge against those he believed betrayed him. When Republicans began electing a new Speaker, McCarthy and his allies worked behind the scenes to undermine several early candidates, including Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan. Little-known Representative Mike Johnson (R-LA) eventually secured the voters to be elected Speaker.
Recently released campaign finance data reveals that McCarthy – who resigned from Congress at the end of December – has just under $10 million cash on hand that could be used to fund primary challengers. It remains to be seen if he can draw additional donor funds to underwrite his revenge efforts.
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