North Carolina Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry is denying claims being made by GOP sources that he's actively recruiting challengers against his fellow North Carolinian, Rep. Mark Meadows
, who is fighting to remove McHenry's ally, House Speaker John Boehner, from his office.
"I talked to Mark about that. I’m not [recruiting]," McHenry, whose district is adjacent to Meadows' told The Hill
, a statement backed up by his spokesman, Jeff Butler, who insisted in an email that McHenry "has not recruited anyone to run against him [Meadows.] Any claims to the contrary are untrue.”
However, the three unnamed GOP sources told the Hill that they have heard McHenry has been reaching out to Republicans in the state's 11th District to launch a primary challenge against Meadows.
But if someone runs against Meadows, who launched a "Fire Boehner" resolution this summer, the Tea Party favorite has garnered national headlines. The GOP sources did not mention any names of potential challengers to go up against Meadows.
Another North Carolina Republican, GOP Conference Secretary Virginia Foxx, is also not trying to recruit a challenger for Meadows, said a spokesman.
Further, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden R-Ore., who heads House GOP campaign efforts, told The Hill he has not been making contacts in Meadows' district.
“People talk to me about things like that, but my focus and job at the NRCC is to beat Democrats,” Walden said. “You hear a lot of things about people who want to run for office. I haven’t talked to anyone in his district.”
Meadows co-founded the House Freedom Caucus earlier this years, and the 40-50 members are pushing Boehner to fight to defund Planned Parenthood. They have also been threatening a vote to remove Boehner from his seat if he works to push through a government-funding bill that allows money Planned Parenthood.
Already this year, another Boehner ally, Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz of Utah took a subcommittee chairmanship away from Meadows in retribution for voting against a Boehner-backed procedural vote on trade legislation. Chaffetz reversed that decision afer conservatives cried foul.
Meadows on Thursday refused comment about his talks with McHenry or the possibility his fellow state representative is trying to recruit challengers against him.
McHenry and Meadows, though, have enjoyed a good relationship in the past, with McHenry initially recruiting Meadows to run for office and endorsing him in the 2012 GOP primary runoff.
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