Anti-Gay Tea Party Congressman Loses Primary Race

Jim Burroway

August 3rd, 2016

Tim HuelskampIn a surprising development, Tea Party darling Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) lost his primary bid for re-election to congress. Huelskamp was so tea-baggy that the representative from Kansas’s vast first district representing 63 farming counties voted against the Farm Bill because food stamps! He also voted against the Export-Import Bank, which played a huge role in promoting farm exports. His disruptive antics got so bad that he got kicked off the Agricultural Committee — making it the first time Kansas went unrepresented on the farm committee for more than a century.

And by the way, he’s extremely anti-gay, although that likely had zero effect in this campaign.

Anyway, the surprise wasn’t that Huelskamp lost. Pols showed that the primary race was very close to political novice Roger Marshall. Which was surprising when those polls first came out. But Huelskamp was, after all, an incumbent backed by the Koch brothers, so it seems that most people thought he could still pull this one out. So the surprise now isn’t just that he lost, but that he was so soundly thrashed:

Huelskamp, first elected to Congress in 2010, lost to Roger Marshall by a large 13-point margin in a year that has seen just three House incumbents toppled. Marshall will likely win the general election in November to represent the 1st Congressional District, as the district is heavily Republican and there is no Democratic challenger.

Marshall was the candidate of the establishment, and it’s unclear if his win portends anything larger for Republican House members who many fear will be damaged by the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump. So far during the primary season, worries that angry voters would boot out incumbents have not materialized.

The race became increasingly close in the final weeks leading up to the primary, as well-funded conservative and business groups poured in $1.5 million to shape the outcome.

Marshall, an OB/GYN, was supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts’s superPAC. Perhaps more critically, Marshall was also supported by the Kansas Farm Bureau. Huelskamp received support from Club for Growth, Heritage Action, and the Koch brother’s superPACs.

The Freedom Caucus, which is what Congressional tea partiers call themselves, are blaming GOP leaders for Huelskamp’s loss:

Republicans need to be unified behind conservative principles to stop the Obama/Clinton agenda,” Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said in a statement. “The House Republican leadership’s opposition to Tim Huelskamp significantly damaged the ability of House Republicans to do that.”

House Republican leaders don’t control outside spending and had nothing to do with the nearly $2 million in anti-Huelskamp ads that poured into his district from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Ricketts family’s Ending Spending political group.

But that’s not the crux of the caucus’ anger. Huelskamp approached Ryan seeking a public assurance that he could reclaim his seat on the House Agriculture Committee next year, a critical position for his farm-heavy district. Boehner (R-Ohio) backed an effort to remove Huelskamp from the panel three years ago as punishment for repeatedly defying leadership in big votes, something Ryan promised he would never do.

The loss of his committee seat was likely Huelskamp’s undoing: Marshall attacked him relentlessly for being ineffective and putting “rigid” conservative values over the needs of his constituents.

The Freedom Caucus got heavily involved in the back and forth with leadership, imploring Ryan to go public with an alleged commitment to reinstall Huelskamp on the panel. But the speaker declined.

This tmeans it’s probably a good time to break out the popcorn. Or a pleasant merlot:

Huelskamp reintroduced the Federal Marriage Amendment in Congress in 2013 immediately after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act”. The FMA would ban same-sex marriage nationwide. Huelskamp reintroduced the proposed amendment in February 2015 at the start of the 114th Congress. As a state Senator, he authored the Kansas 2005 constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage and civil unions in that state.

Ben in oakland

August 3rd, 2016

I haven’t researched it personally, but apparently, Marshall is no better the huelskamp.

He’s a hore of a different color, that’s all.


August 3rd, 2016

I have to wonder what an OB/GYN is doing running for political office, but if he’s a Republican I don’t think I’ll find a satisfying answer.

Gene in L.A.

August 3rd, 2016

Huelskamp was one of a number of conservative backers of Governor Brownback in Kansas who lost their primary races. The state government will be moving to the center, and some of the more moderate Republicans who beat the conservatives still have competitive races against Democrats in November. My not-so secret hope is that this trend will continue in other states.


August 4th, 2016

Except Roger Marshall is not a moderate. He actually hit Huelskamp for his lack of his true conservatism by making his pro-life stance a huge part of his campaign. An OB/GYN with a page full of testimonials by other pro-life mothers he delievered babies for.

This is no centrist Republican at all. This is another Ben Carson.


August 4th, 2016

Couldn’t have happened to a nicer asshole!

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