As the top-ranking Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) endorsed a string of GOP candidates in his party’s effort to regain control of the chamber on Election Day.
McCarthy and other party leaders have pulled their support from one candidate, however, after a series of disparaging and inflammatory social media posts resurfaced in media reports this week, according to The Hill.
Ted Howze is challenging incumbent freshman Rep. Josh Harder, a Democrat, in California’s 10th Congressional District, which has been identified by some political analysts as potentially winnable for the GOP this fall.
“No place in the Republican Party”
He had been endorsed by McCarthy and the National Republican Congressional Committee, though a recent Politico report exposed dozens of posts the candidate appears to have published years ago, including accusations of murder and drug use by Democrats as well as offensive statements about Muslims and minorities. Howze has denied he was the author of the posts.
The NRCC has since withdrawn Howze’s name from its list of “Young Guns,” a group of candidates believed to represent future power players within the GOP. The organization also issued a statement distancing itself from him and the “unacceptable” comments attributed to him.
Shortly thereafter, McCarthy took back his support and rebuked Howze’s “disappointing and disturbing” remarks.
“Bigotry and hateful rhetoric — in any form — have no place in the Republican Party,” he said in a statement. “These posts are unacceptable and do not reflect the Mr. Howze that I have briefly interacted with.”
For his part, the candidate downplayed the scandal and suggested that if he remained competitive in his race against Harder, party leaders would once again support his congressional bid.
“McCarthy has withdrawn his endorsement”
McCarthy spokesman Drew Florio, however, made it clear that the GOP leader had completely rescinded his previous endorsement.
“In light of Mr. Howze’s disappointing comments, Leader McCarthy has withdrawn his endorsement,” Florio said. “As the Leader has previously stated, hateful rhetoric has no place within the Republican Party.”
It appears that Howze remains intent on continuing his campaign, even if that means doing so without critical assistance in the form of endorsements and financial contributions by the Republican Party.
If Republicans hope to take back the House in November, though, it will require a concerted effort to reclaim as many seats as possible. This controversy seems poised to make that goal a little bit harder to achieve.