The Senate primaries next year will hinge on a number of differences between the candidates, many of them more significant. But the vote could become a major factor, especially as Republicans try to win over a group of GOP primary voters who hold poor opinions of party leaders in Washington.
Rosendale, a two-term representative, has been one of McCarthy’s more public opponents, writing in an op-ed for a local paper that he “seized every opportunity to shield Americans from woke policies.” On Thursday, Rosendale named an alternate candidate for speaker on the House floor.
In contrast, Zinke, who won a newly created district the previous year, is a staunch McCarthy ally and said the debacle was “shameful”.
“I didn’t come here to shout chaos,” Zinke, wearing a cowboy hat, said in an interview outside the chamber on Thursday. “In Montana, people want to work.”
While he declined to take a specific shot at Rosendale, with whom he said he had a “professional relationship”, Zinke suggested that some of McCarthy’s opponents were benefiting from his opposition.
“You see a lot of members – before they can’t buy an interview,” he said. “And now look at them, some of these members walk around, there’s a crowd around them and they’re fundraising for it. To me, you have to put your constituents first.
Both Rosendale and Zinke have not ruled out bids against Sen. john testerOne of the few remaining red-state Democrats who are in deep trouble in 2024. And national Republicans believe both are seriously considering running, and each will bring their own baggage to the contest.
Montana secured another congressional seat in 2022, leaving room for Zinke to mount a comeback bid. He served in the House from 2015 to 2017, when he left to serve as President Donald Trump’s Secretary of the Interior – a position from which he later resigned amid several scandals.
Rosendale, meanwhile, lost to Tester in the 2018 Senate race over claims of, among other things, carpetbagging that cost him the moniker “Maryland Matt”.
Privately, some national Republicans see Rosendale’s stance against McCarthy as a move to bolster a possible Senate bid. But it also comes with some risk.
His public opposition to McCarthy may have enhanced his reputation, as well as his anti-establishment credentials. But it’s unclear how much the average primary voter cares about McCarthy or the leadership of Congress, and Rosendale could anger major donors and Republican outside groups that aid Senate candidates.
Talk about a possible Senate run intensified when Rosendale took center stage to nominate Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) for the speaker on Thursday afternoon.
“Frankly, I didn’t know he was running for Senate until a few minutes ago. I had a conversation with someone,” said Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.), a McCarthy aide, who said he was told Rosendale was making a run.
“You’d be naïve to say that you don’t consider what they do under the spotlight,” Mast continued, when asked if he thought the statewide ambition was something anti-McCarthy Republicans would do. was motivating
Another conflict is brewing in the larger Indiana delegation, with both Banks and Spartz considering a run for an open Senate seat.
Banks, former chairman of the Republican Study Committee, is a McCarthy aide. After initially endorsing McCarthy for speaker, Spartz changed his vote to “present” on the fourth ballot.
She said she made the change to encourage Republicans on both sides to resume talks and find a solution. “Stalemate is not an option,” she said.
When asked whether his constituents wanted McCarthy as speaker, he said: “The people in Indiana don’t elect speakers. They elect us.
Banks, a veteran elected in 2016, represents a district in the state’s northeast corner. He said he would spend the holiday season weighing a Senate bid for the seat, which is open because of the incumbent mike braun decides to launch a run for governor.
When Spartz was asked if Banks thought Indiana voters wanted McCarthy to be speaker, he said, “I can only speak for myself.” “But maybe you should ask.”
Spartz, who was born in Ukraine, is also reported to be considering a run for the Senate, though she has remained quiet on her intentions.
Both Spartz and Rosendale have received endorsements in the past from the anti-tax Club for Growth, which announced it would support McCarthy’s speakership bid in exchange for some key concessions. A major one: The Congressional Leadership Fund, a McCarthy-aligned super PAC, will pledge to stay out of open primaries in safe Republican seats.
Still, they are only two of some 20 anti-McCarthy members who have refused to budge for days. Almost all of them will cite deeply held principles to explain their votes – not potential statewide runs.
But more than a few colleagues have cast doubt on the sincerity of that argument.
“Are you saying there is arrogance and behavior here? No way,” said Rep. troy nehls (R-Texas).
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