House Speaker Mike Johnson’s Influence Grows Amid Republican Infighting


House Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-LA) influence over his caucus has grown, yet members are still striving to reshape the ranks.

Despite his direct appeals to Republican colleagues to set aside differences and back incumbents over primary challengers, efforts to challenge the slim majority persist. Initial attempts to oust members deemed not conservative enough by hard-line lawmakers have not succeeded, and change seems unlikely.

Several Republicans told Punchbowl News they would prefer to become the minority party in November if it meant recruiting more hard-line members.

“With the shape this country is in, we have to go with the most conservative members,” stated Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC). “You have to make the right choice first and change what’s going on up here with the spending and the Washington insider clique that just wants to do the same thing repeatedly.”

Reps. Tony Gonzales (R-TX), Mike Bost (R-IL), William Timmons (R-SC), and Dan Newhouse (R-WA) have all faced potential ousting. Newhouse is one of the two remaining House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump for his actions on Jan. 6.

Attacks come not only for Republicans at odds with the Freedom Caucus.

Freedom Caucus Chairman Bob Good (R-VA) is under fire from Trump and faces challengers for perceived insufficient conservatism. His opponent, John McGuire, is endorsed by multiple House Republicans and Trump.

Nonetheless, as chairman of the Freedom Caucus, Good views primary challenges as a tactic to steer the party further right, even though he is a target himself.

“Republicans around the country want someone who will vote with Republicans,” Good remarked. “They seek someone who genuinely aims to secure the border and is a true conservative fighter, not part of the establishment that has passed major spending bills with Democrats.”

Some centrist Republicans have withstood primary challenges, emerging victorious in tough battles. Gonzales and Bost prevailed in earlier contests this year and will be the Republican nominees for their districts.

Not all Republicans support the infighting.

Reps. Eric Burlison (R-MO) and Cory Mills (R-FL) believe internal party conflicts are not a winning strategy. Freedom Caucus founder Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) also stated he does not “engage in that.”

“I’m not one of the people in the Freedom Caucus getting involved with primary challengers,” Burlison said. “If I am serving with that person, I will give them the respect of not involving myself in that race.”

“We certainly risk losing the majority if we don’t focus on achieving our goals and not merely try to oust members,” Mills said.

Annabella Rosciglione
Annabella Rosciglione
Breaking News Reporter. Annabella is a graduate of UW-Madison where she worked at the Daily Cardinal reporting on Wisconsin politics.

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