House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Friday threw in his support hard for two different so-called “Make America Great Again” candidates, Dr. Mark Harris in North Carolina and Danny Tarkanian in Nevada–a move designed to hold the House GOP majority.
Both Harris and Tarkanian were added to McCarthy’s “Young Guns” program at the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), a move designed to secure them enough resources to win their respective general election battles later this year.
McCarthy said in the NRCC press release announcing Harris, Tarkanian, and nearly a dozen other additions to the Young Guns program this cycle:
The Republican House and Trump Administration are leading America’s comeback. Across the country, conservatives are coming together and stepping into the political arena to help complete the work needed to strengthen our economy, our military, and our country. I am proud to welcome each candidate to the Young Guns program to ensure they have the resources they need to win, and I look forward to seeing them on the trail this summer and fall.
NRCC chairman Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) added that these candidates “are the cream of the crop.”
“This first round of extraordinary candidates includes men and women from diverse backgrounds across the country. I can’t wait for them to join me in Congress to fight to keep our economic comeback on track,” Stivers said. Harris’s and Tarkanian’s addition, along with other rising GOP stars like Diane Harkey in California and Pete Stauber in Minnesota, is the surest fire sign yet that McCarthy is in it to win it in November–and to stop an effort by the hard-left “resistance”-fueled Democrats to hand the Speaker’s gavel back to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
“McCarthy’s highest political priority is to keep Republicans in the House majority this fall,” an inside GOP source familiar with McCarthy’s political operation told Breitbart News. “Democrats are laser focused on a message of obstruction and impeachment which would derail President’s Trump agenda. Being all in for conservatives like Mark Harris and Danny Tarkanian is essential to complete the work we are doing with President Trump to rebuild our country.”
McCarthy was the special guest at a Washington, D.C., fundraiser for Harris earlier this week, too–something that helped Harris raise big dollars for his race in North Carolina’s ninth congressional district. Harris, an outsider grassroots conservative and Trump supporting pastor, shocked the world when in early May he defeated incumbent GOP Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC) in a primary that focused on the problems with the omnibus spending bill.
“We are humbled by the support we are receiving from Leader McCarthy as well as many other Republican and conservative leaders nationally,” Andy Yates, the general consultant for the Harris campaign, told Breitbart News. “It is exciting to see everyone united behind our strong conservative message, and, with their support, we are confident we will win in November.”
Pittenger, an establishment Republican, had voted for the omnibus, and while President Donald Trump did sign it into law, the president said he was disappointed in the outcome of that $1.3 trillion spending bill that funded a number of Democratic priorities like Planned Parenthood and public broadcasting while not funding GOP priorities like President Trump’s wall.
Pittenger defended his vote for the omnibus to the district, while Harris repeatedly campaigned against it–making the case that it undercut the president’s agenda. Harris won in the end, knocking off the first incumbent member of Congress in a primary this year. Since then, two others–Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) and Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY)–have lost their primaries in what is shaping up to be another season of outsiders winning elections across the country.
Tarkanian, meanwhile, fended off a slew of establishment-backed challengers in the primary for the hotly-contested general election battleground of Nevada’s third congressional district. He was running in the Senate primary against incumbent Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) until President Trump asked him to switch to the third congressional district because of an opportunity for Republicans to flip the suburban Las Vegas district from Democrat control to GOP control in November.
Tarkanian faces radical leftist Democrat Susie Lee in November. Lee is extraordinarily close with Pelosi, who’s already done at least one fundraiser for her off the Las Vegas Strip.
Tarkanian said in response to the news that McCarthy’s NRCC Young Guns program included him:
This announcement sends a clear message to the Democrats: the Republican Party is invested in Nevada and determined to win. Congressional District 3 may very well decide which party controls the House — making my race one of the most important races in the country. The future of American prosperity is at stake, and Nevadans will cast the deciding votes. The Democrats are eager to seize control and advance their radical left agenda, which includes: surrendering to open borders and sanctuary cities, bringing back high taxes, and once again burdening small businesses with costly regulations. If elected, I’ll fight against the left’s efforts to weaken our country. I am confident that voters — strengthened by the benefits of a booming America First economy — will vote Republican in November.
Both districts are key battlegrounds for different reasons. The Democrats are attempting to exploit Pittenger’s lack of support for Harris after the primary to pull off a surprise stunner in North Carolina’s ninth, and in Nevada’s third Democrats aim to hold one of the very few districts nationwide that could flip from Democrat to Republican representation.
With a slim majority of just 23 seats at this time–that is the so-called “magic number” of net seats Democrats would need to gain in the midterm election to retake control of the House of Representatives–the GOP needs just about every seat possible to win. The possibility of a “blue wave” keeps dwindling every day, but even a properly-engineered ripple steered the right way by the Democrats could mean a net of 24 or 25 seats in the midterms, especially with more than three dozen Republicans retiring, including lame duck outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan.
That brings up the next point, which is that when Ryan is gone–whether it be now, sometime before the election, or after the election–McCarthy is the presumed next in line for the Speakership. He is not likely to cakewalk into the job, and his last bid for the Speakership was thwarted, leading to the rise of Ryan. But, McCarthy has been clearly carefully planning this–and has made extra efforts for years to align himself with President Trump and the MAGA base of the GOP in a way that Ryan never did.
“People often forget that after the Access Hollywood tape came out, when others cowered in fear, Kevin McCarthy was the only member of GOP leadership to have Trump’s back, full stop,” a former Trump campaign official told Breitbart News. “He’s been supremely loyal to the President since day one and so it’s good to see him continuing embracing the MAGA agenda by backing two of Trump’s fiercest warriors running for Congress this cycle in Mark Harris and Danny Tarkanian.”
Likely challengers for the Speakership against McCarthy when that time comes include House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and founding House Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), among potentially others. So McCarthy’s work to differentiate himself from the past heads of the GOP and blaze his own trail more in line with the president and the grassroots mean he is much more likely to succeed this time around–though it will be a battle.