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Alejandro Mayorkas

Gallagher’s Mayorkas vote gets him a primary challenger

When Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) cast his vote against impeaching DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, he opened himself up to a firestorm of criticism from his party’s right flank.

Now, Gallagher is facing a primary challenge from MAGA world political consultant Alex Bruesewitz.

The Republican base, furious at the Biden administration’s handling of the U.S.-Mexico border, was eager to impeach Mayorkas. And Gallagher — along with Reps. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) and Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) — joined with all 212 Democrats to sink the impeachment.

But when we caught up with Gallagher on Wednesday, the Wisconsin Republican told us he didn’t care about the political repercussions of his stance.

“That can’t be the North Star that guides your votes and guides your principles,” Gallagher said.

In a detailed Wall Street Journal op-ed, Gallagher explained his vote as a stance against political impeachments. Impeaching Mayorkas “would only further pry open the Pandora’s box of perpetual impeachment,” Gallagher wrote.

We asked Gallagher if he had been following the reaction to his WSJ piece.

“I don’t live online, guys. Get offline! That’s not healthy for you,” Gallagher replied.

The 39-year-old Marine veteran is seen as a rising star within GOP politics and was heavily recruited to run against Sen. Tammy Baldwin (R-Wis.) this year. Gallagher hasn’t been shy at bucking the far-right wing of the Republican Party — a rare position to be in today’s GOP.

Following the Jan. 6 attack, Gallagher strongly criticized former President Donald Trump’s behavior. In his role as chair of the select committee on China, Gallagher has made bipartisanship a top priority alongside his Democratic counterpart Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (Ill.).

It’s unclear how much juice a pro-Trump primary challenge would have in Gallagher’s district.

“A vote like this is a conscience vote and I think Mike’s got strongly held beliefs in regards to it,” Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Wis.) told us when we asked about Gallagher’s political future. “We’ll see what happens.”

— Max Cohen

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