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“GPO innovations are helpingto reduce provider costs, streamline drug delivery, and strengthen the health care supply chain,” – Hon. Phil English, HGPII National Co-Coordinator
Happy Wednesday morning.
News: A gaggle of the most-high profile conservative House Republicans have been plotting behind the scenes to topple Texas GOP Rep. Tony Gonzales, a new chapter of the war between the right and the middle of the conference.
This is a dynamic we’ve seen all year. The right flank is growing frustrated with their moderate colleagues. First the right dismissed the electoral challenges presented by embracing an ultra-conservative agenda. Now, they are simply trying to knock moderates out of Congress.
Another piece of evidence: We scooped last week that House Freedom Caucus Chair Scott Perry (R-Pa.) had urged conservative activist Mark Houck to launch a primary challenge to Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.).
Here’s what has gone down behind the scenes with Gonzales.
Perry met with primary candidate Victor Avila at the Capitol in May, according to a source familiar. In July, Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas) hosted a screening of a border documentary, which Avila appeared in. Avila also spoke at the event.
Another challenger, Brandon Herrera, says he spoke with Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz by phone shortly after he launched his campaign this month to discuss his bid against Gonzales. He told us he is also hoping to meet with Reps. Chip Roy (R-Texas) and Nehls, too.
Gaetz’s team also referred us to a recent Newsmax clip where Gaetz had Herrera on, while guest hosting last week.
Gaetz called the race “America’s most exciting congressional Republican primary election,” and accused Gonzales of attacking his conservative colleagues.
Herrera defended the involvement of lawmakers in primaries. He accused Gonzales of going against his campaign promises to fight for a conservative agenda.
“They’re getting a chance to choose their co-workers which is really important to get things done,” Herrera told us.
Gonzales is facing at least three primary challengers. In addition to Herrera and Avila, Medina County GOP Chair Julie Clark has launched a race to try to beat Gonzales.
Clark initiated statewide censure efforts against Gonzales earlier this year. We previously reported that Clark met with Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and the HFC-aligned outside conservative group FreedomWorks in April.
It’s also worth noting that Avila had preexisting ties to the Freedom Caucus, particularly with Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.). The two had connections to the conservative nonprofit the America Project.
“From San Antonio to El Paso, grassroots leaders have embraced Victor as a true son of the district whom they can trust to fight for everyone, not just wealthy donors,” said Brandon Wear, Avila’s campaign manager.
So far, the challengers have posed little threat to Gonzales, who has brought in $1.7 million for his reelection. That astonishing figure makes him Texas’s top fundraiser for candidates running for the House of Representatives, according to the San Antonio Express.
Gonzales’ campaign pointed out his fundraising numbers, adding that he had traveled “thousands of miles” in his district this year, and has received more than 130 local endorsements.
Jack Pandol, spokesperson for the National Republican Congressional Committee, told us in a statement that the campaign arm encourages sitting Republicans to focus on taking out Democrats, rather than members of their own party.
“The NRCC is focused on beating Democrats and we believe all Republicans should focus their time and energy on that mission. However, the Committee is a member-driven organization and we will not shy away from protecting our incumbents from primary challenges if necessary,” Pandol told us.
We should also point out that primary meddling has also become a headache for Democrats. The progressive wing has lobbied and endorsed leftwing primary challengers to sitting incumbents, much to the chagrin of leadership and the party’s campaign arm.
Nonetheless, this is a trend we’ll continue to keep an eye on this cycle and beyond, as the extremes of both parties become more dissatisfied with the establishment.
Also: The House Judiciary Committee is planning to hold its next field hearing in Chicago on Sept. 25, according to a source familiar. The hearing will focus on violent crime and “lawlessness” under the city’s leadership.
House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) held a hearing in New York City in April — the first field hearing of his crime series. Jordan has been tweeting about crime rates in Chicago this week.
— Mica Soellner
Join us in September! Punchbowl News founders Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman will interview Ways and Means Committee Chair Jason Smith (R-Mo.) on Wednesday, Sept. 20 at 9 a.m. ET. The conversation is the second in a three-part series, Capital and American Business, presented by Apollo Global Management and will focus on Smith’s priorities as chair of the powerful panel. RSVP here!
PRESENTED BY EMERGENT
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THE MONEY GAME
Cruz and Thune fundraising together in NYC
This one caught our eye. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), up for reelection in 2024, is holding a fundraiser with Senate Minority Whip John Thune in Manhattan on Sept. 7.
Where do we start with the intrigue on this one? Cruz is a frequent thorn in the side of the leadership, which Thune is a critical part of. And Thune, of course, is a possible successor to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Cruz was vocally opposed to McConnell continuing to lead the Senate GOP conference last year when Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) launched his long-shot challenge. That Thune is trekking to New York to fundraise for Cruz is notable, to say the least.
Also note: John Bolton is on the invite.
What a town.
— Jake Sherman and Andrew Desiderio
THE MAJORITY MAKERS
Abortion rights front and center for Pat Ryan
On Aug. 23, 2022, Rep. Pat Ryan (D-N.Y.) defeated Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-N.Y.) in a closely watched House special election that Democrats hailed as a major victory in the post-Roe era. A year on, Ryan — the only vulnerable New York Democrat left in the House — is continuing to highlight GOP “assaults on freedom” ahead of 2024.
Ryan’s win came just months after the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision that overturned a half-century of precedent on abortion rights. The ruling energized the Democratic base and played a role in the party overperforming expectations in the midterms.
As House Democrats enter the 2024 cycle needing to flip only five seats to reclaim their majority, abortion rights are once again front and center of their campaigning agenda. In Ryan’s eyes, that’s a boon for the party’s chances.
“We’ve seen it now half a dozen times, from Kansas, to my special, to Alaska, to Wisconsin late last year and just earlier this summer in Ohio,” Ryan told us. “When the stakes are clear and so high in all these elections, the American people always choose freedom.”
Ryan navigated two difficult elections in a row in 2022, besting Molinaro in August and then beating Republican Colin Schmitt less than three months later. In both races, Ryan said his playbook of framing Democratic positions as pro-freedom served him well.
“It’s clear that right now MAGA Republicans are about chaos and taking away freedom,” Ryan said. “So I think that in 2024, the issues are very much the same. In fact, I think assaults on freedom and reproductive freedom in particular have only gotten worse in the year since my special election.”
On Capitol Hill, the NDAA amendment fight last month served as a recent flashpoint over abortion rights. All but two House Republicans — Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.) and John Duarte (Calif.) — voted for a provision that would repeal the Pentagon policy that pays for service members traveling for abortion care.
Ryan, an Army veteran who sits on the House Armed Services Committee, said he was shocked at the level of GOP support for the amendment.
“It was a direct slap in the face to our women’s service members — 20% of our active duty force — to tell them, ‘You can put your life on the line for our country, you can deploy in harm’s way, but you can’t get health care services,’” Ryan said.
Looking ahead to next fall, Ryan said he’s been in touch with key Democratic stakeholders to share his campaign’s best practices. Ryan is seeking to help challengers looking to unseat the plethora of freshman New York Republicans who won seats on traditionally Democratic turf.
The DCCC is targeting a whole host of vulnerable New Yorkers this cycle — Reps. Nick LaLota, George Santos, Anthony D’Esposito, Mike Lawler, Brandon Williams and Molinaro. Ryan predicted that come November 2024, the Empire State’s voters will punish the incumbents for their voting records.
“There are a lot of people that are pretty fed up with politicians trying to talk out of both sides of their mouth, trying to have it both ways, trying to claim to be one thing and then voting a different way,” Ryan said. “And I firmly believe that the human bullshit detector is very, very high and people see through that.”
— Max Cohen
PRESENTED BY EMERGENT
A leader in the fight against the opioid epidemic.
THE MONEY GAME
McCarthy fundraising for Molinaro in N.Y.
Wonder what Speaker Kevin McCarthy is up to today? Glad you asked! McCarthy is traveling to Sullivan County, N.Y., to fundraise for freshman Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-N.Y.).
Appearing alongside McCarthy on the host committee is former New York GOP Gov. George Pataki and former Rep. John Faso (R-N.Y.). Tickets range from $75 (affordable!) to $2,500.
Molinaro is one of the 18 House Republicans who represent districts President Joe Biden won in 2020. The incumbent won by under 5,000 votes in 2022 over Josh Riley, a Democrat who’s mounting a comeback bid this cycle.
— Max Cohen
Merkava Strategies, which is named after the Hebrew word for chariot, has signed up to lobby a number of clients. Joshua Nass will lobby for Ataollah Aminpour, a bank executive who was convicted of loan fraud; Boris Mints, a Russian businessman who is critical of Vladimir Putin; Dirshu International, a Jewish nonprofit; Dr. Stephen Soloway, a doctor who is close to former President Donald Trump; Hersel Neman and Morad Ben Neman who spent time in prison after pleading guilty to “conspiring to launder money, conspiring to defraud the United States by obstructing the lawful functions of the IRS, and subscribing to and filing a false tax return.”
The Children’s Hospital of Boston has registered to lobby on a host of health-care related issues.
Mastercard has hired Tower19 to lobby on “Issues related to interchange, cost of acceptance, debit interchange price controls, and routing mandates for credit cards. S.1838 and H.R.3881 Issues related to payments tokenization and card security.”
— Jake Sherman
PRESENTED BY EMERGENT
As a leader in the fight against the opioid epidemic, Emergent is committed to access and awareness of NARCAN® Nasal Spray – soon available OTC.
President Joe Biden is in Lake Tahoe with no events scheduled. Vice President Kamala Harris is in D.C. with no public events scheduled.
9 p.m.: The first Republican presidential debate airs on Fox News live from Milwaukee.
“How Mark Meadows Pursued a High-Wire Legal Strategy in Trump Inquiries,” by Jonathan Swan, Alan Feuer, Luke Broadwater and Maggie Haberman
“9 Things That Will Shape Wednesday’s G.O.P. Debate,” by Lisa Lerer and Shane Goldmacher
“Prosecutors: Trump Mar-a-Lago security aide flipped after changing lawyers,” by Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein
“Newcomer Vivek Ramaswamy is taking flak ahead of Republican debate,” by Dylan Wells in Milwaukee and Maeve Reston in Los Angeles
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images.
PRESENTED BY EMERGENT
Approximately every eight minutes, on average, someone in America dies from an opioid overdose. Anyone who takes prescription or illicit opioids is potentially at risk of experiencing an accidental life-threatening or fatal opioid overdose.
As a leader in the fight against the opioid epidemic, Emergent has been committed to access, and awareness, of NARCAN® Nasal Spray soon to be available over the counter.
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