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Tags: kentucky | primary | election | thomas massie | oust | speaker | mike johnson

Thomas Massie Wins in Ky. GOP Primary Despite Failed Bid to Oust Speaker

Tuesday, 21 May 2024 07:45 PM EDT

Rep. Thomas Massie's role in the failed bid to oust House Speaker Mike Johnson didn't harm his standing with Republican voters in his Kentucky district, where he easily won his primary election on Tuesday in the conservative stronghold.

AP and Newsmax have both called the primary in Massie's favor.

Massie far outdistanced challengers Eric Deters and Michael McGinnis to maintain his hold on the seat representing the 4th District, which stretches across northern Kentucky. With no Democratic opponent in the fall, Massie's primary victory cleared his way to claim another term in November.

The libertarian-leaning congressman said his victory amounted to a "referendum on thousands of independent votes I have cast in Washington, D.C., on behalf of Kentucky's 4th District."

"I want to thank the voters for trusting me to represent them again, and I look forward to continuing our fight for personal liberty, economic freedom, fiscal responsibility and constitutionally limited government," Massie said in a statement.

Elsewhere, the dean of Kentucky's congressional delegation, Republican Rep. Hal Rogers, easily defeated three challengers in the 5th District covering eastern and parts of southern Kentucky.

Rep. Morgan McGarvey, the state's only Democrat congressman, coasted to victory over two opponents in the Louisville-area 3rd District. The Bluegrass State's other congressmen — Republicans James Comer, Brett Guthrie, and Andy Barr — were unopposed in the primary.

Kentuckians also settled a number of intraparty battles in state legislative primaries on Tuesday. Republicans hold supermajorities in both legislative chambers.

Massie's congressional race drew attention for his reputation of defying his party's leaders — from then-President Donald Trump to the House speaker — without being punished by his constituents.

Massie aligned with fellow Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene in the recent attempt to remove Johnson from his post as speaker. Massie co-sponsored Greene's ouster resolution, which was overwhelmingly rejected by their colleagues.

Before the primary, Massie sounded unconcerned about any blowback from voters for trying to remove the speaker — nicknamed "MAGA Mike Johnson" by Trump. The former president remains enormously popular in the district.

"It's a lot of inside baseball and ultimately, because he's still the speaker, I think a lot of people don't care," Massie said in an interview last week.

Four years ago, Massie drew Trump's wrath when the congressman singlehandedly caused a delay in passing a massive COVID-19 relief package. Trump called the Kentuckian a "third rate Grandstander."

An unapologetic Massie said he tried to hold up what he considered to be an unconstitutional vote for a wasteful bill. Massie deflected Trump's jabs by joking he was at least "second rate" as a grandstander.

Despite the presidential smackdown, Massie cruised to reelection that year. Two years later, Massie picked up the former president's endorsement on his way to another reelection victory.

"They still appreciate somebody who will come up here and vote the way he believes is best, even if it's at odds with Trump sometimes," Massie said of his constituents. "So that's sort of my brand at this point."

In another twist, Massie supported Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' failed bid for the White House, again risking Trump's anger. The ex-president didn't give an endorsement in Massie's primary race this year.

Deters was the congressman's best-known challenger, having run for governor last year, when he finished fourth in the crowded GOP primary. Deters played up his steadfast support for Trump in trying to make inroads against Massie, and he portrayed Massie as a "goofball" lacking accomplishments in Congress.

Since joining Congress in late 2012, Massie has been known as an avid deficit hawk and staunch gun-rights supporter. In a recent post on the social platform X, Massie wrote: "America is on a path that won't end well. We are borrowing money at an unsustainable rate, accumulating enemies through endless war, and eroding rights like free speech & privacy."

Looking ahead to the fall, four Kentucky congressmen — Comer, Guthrie, McGarvey, and Barr — will face general election challengers. The Bluegrass State is expected to remain solidly in the GOP column in the November election.

Kentucky's most contentious campaign in the fall is likely to be over a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow taxpayer money to flow to private or charter schools. If it is ratified by voters, state lawmakers could then decide whether to support private or charter school education with public funds. The state's popular Democratic governor, Andy Beshear, will align with the Kentucky Education Association, a group representing tens of thousands of public school educators, in opposing the measure.

Newsmax contributed to this report.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Rep. Thomas Massie's role in the failed bid to oust House Speaker Mike Johnson didn't harm his standing with Republican voters in his Kentucky district, where he easily won his primary election on Tuesday in the conservative stronghold.
kentucky, primary, election, thomas massie, oust, speaker, mike johnson
Tuesday, 21 May 2024 07:45 PM
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