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New York Times: In New Hampshire, a MAGA Rivalry Is Splitting House Republicans

WASHINGTON — He calls her “fake MAGA Karoline” from “the swamp.” She calls him a “Fauci foot soldier” and a “pharma bro.”

A congressional primary in New Hampshire between two young, conservative former Trump staff members has divided MAGA Republicans and the party’s leaders in the House, devolving into a bitter, expensive battle over who carries the mantle of Trumpism.

The race, in a highly competitive district currently held by a Democrat, will be decided on Tuesday. Its outcome could determine whether Republicans have a chance at flipping the seat in the midterm elections in November as part of their drive to reclaim the House majority. The contest has also highlighted a power struggle in the party ranks that will shape what that majority might look like if Republicans take control.

Matt Mowers, 33, who worked on Donald J. Trump’s 2016 campaign, served him at the State Department and was endorsed by the former president in an unsuccessful bid for the same congressional seat in 2020. Mr. Mowers entered the race last year as the presumed front-runner against Representative Chris Pappas of New Hampshire, who is one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the country in this election cycle.

Mr. Mowers is viewed as a strong candidate with high name recognition in the state’s First Congressional District; he drew favorable coverage from right-wing news outlets like Breitbart and a well of endorsements from powerful conservative figures. They include Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the minority leader; Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the No. 2 House Republican; Representative Jim Banks of Indiana; as well as Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie, the former Trump campaign managers.

But despite all that, Mr. Mowers is facing a strident and surprisingly fierce challenge on his right from Karoline Leavitt, 25, a former assistant in Mr. Trump’s White House press office. She is backed by a host of hard-right Republicans in Congress, including Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Representatives Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Jim Jordan of Ohio and Elise Stefanik of New York, the No. 3 House Republican.

The race has turned less on any ideological divide between the candidates, who have few discernible differences on policy, than on style and tone. Where Mr. Mowers opts for nuanced, carefully worded statements, Ms. Leavitt almost always reaches for the most extreme and provocative ones.

Her success at turning the primary into a neck-and-neck competition has underscored how in the current Republican Party, fealty to Mr. Trump is not always enough on its own to sway voters. What increasingly matters is a willingness to mimic his tactics, by adopting inflammatory language and making the most incendiary statements possible.

“Maybe in part because Leavitt came out of the White House press operation, it’s like a second language to her,” Dante J. Scala, a political science professor at the University of New Hampshire, said of her ability to channel the style and rhetoric of the MAGA movement. “Her campaign has been the whole package, and that’s put Mowers to the wall.”

Take, for instance, Mr. Trump’s lie that the 2020 election was stolen. When pressed about whether he agrees, Mr. Mowers has said he harbors concerns about voting “irregularities around the country.”

That was too wishy-washy for Ms. Leavitt, who repeats Mr. Trump’s falsehoods unequivocally.

“We need candidates who are willing to speak truth about the election, who are willing to push back,” she said during an interview at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February, where she also bragged that Facebook had removed an interview she had done with the former Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon in which she asserted that the election had been stolen. “If you’re not willing to say what happened in 2020, then, gosh, you don’t deserve to be elected.”

Ms. Leavitt later accused Mr. Mowers of siding “with Joe Biden and the Democrats by refusing to stand for election integrity and support audits.” She has also said she would support Mr. Jordan for speaker rather than Mr. McCarthy, though she later said she would back Mr. McCarthy.

At a recent debate, when asked whether he would support impeaching President Biden, Mr. Mowers said he would want to have hearings to look into the issue. Ms. Leavitt said without qualification that she would support any impeachment charge against the president.

Each candidate has been savaging the other as a creature of Washington. Mr. Mowers’s campaign operates a “fake MAGA Karoline” website, which accuses her of having “never held a real job outside the swamp,” attending private school in Massachusetts and being registered to vote from the “penthouse” apartment where she lived in Washington before moving back to New Hampshire to run for office.

On a site operated by Ms. Leavitt’s campaign, titled “backdoor Matt,” the campaign refers to Mr. Mowers as a “Fauci foot soldier” for his role working in the administration for Dr. Deborah Birx, the former White House coronavirus coordinator. It also refers to him as a “big pharma bro” who worked as a lobbyist for a pharmaceutical company.

“Matt Mowers is the swamp,” the website proclaims, noting that he voted in two states — New Hampshire and New Jersey — in the 2016 Republican presidential primary.

The race has grown so close and so heated that it is drowning out New Hampshire’s competitive Senate race, with ads from both campaigns blanketing the 5 p.m. news.

A recent poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center showed Mr. Mowers leading Ms. Leavitt by a razor-thin margin: 26 percent to 24 percent, barely more than the 2.2 percent margin of error, though 26 percent of likely voters said they remained undecided. A third Trump-aligned candidate, Gail Huff Brown — whose husband, the former Massachusetts senator Scott Brown, served as Mr. Trump’s ambassador to New Zealand — was trailing with 16 percent. Two other lesser-known candidates have gained little traction in the race.

Money has also poured into the contest, with several outside groups spending millions of dollars trying to defeat Ms. Leavitt, who some Republicans fear could be a weaker opponent against Mr. Pappas.

“Mowers probably has a slight advantage in running against Pappas, because he’s already done it,” said Thomas D. Rath, a former New Hampshire attorney general and longtime Republican strategist. “But she’s engaging because of her youth, her energy and her fierce competitiveness. The momentum is with her.”

Even top House Republicans are torn over the race, signaling lingering divisions in the party that could shape how it defines itself no matter who wins. For Mr. McCarthy, who is campaigning to be speaker, a victory by Mr. Mowers would add a reliable ally to his ranks. Ms. Leavitt would be a wild card more in the mold of Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and other hard-right lawmakers who have sometimes proved a thorn in Mr. McCarthy’s side.

A senior Republican strategist close to Mr. McCarthy said Mr. Mowers was one of several candidates who ran in 2020 whom the leader was supporting this election cycle, in part because he believed their name recognition and established networks of donors would position them for victories in the general election.

But Ms. Stefanik, who has styled herself in Mr. Trump’s image and has ambitions to rise in the party, is backing Ms. Leavitt, who previously worked as her communications director. She calls Ms. Leavitt “a rising star in the Republican Party who will carry the torch of conservative values for generations to come.”

The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with Mr. McCarthy, has spent more than $1.3 million supporting Mr. Mowers. Another super PAC that supports moderate Republicans, Defending Main Street, has spent over $1.2 million and is running an ad that describes Ms. Leavitt as a “woke Gen-Z’er” and plays a Snapchat video she once posted where she uses crude language to refer to her viewers.

E-Pac, Ms. Stefanik’s outside group that supports conservative female candidates, has maxed out to Ms. Leavitt’s campaign, and Ms. Stefanik has served as an informal adviser to her former aide.

Ms. Leavitt has leaned into the attacks to paint herself as a victim. “I am officially the top target of DC’s money machine,” she posted on Twitter this week. “The Establishment knows I am the greatest threat to their handpick puppet Matt Mowers.”

Ms. Leavitt’s backers view the money elevating her opponent and the increasingly negative attacks against her as signs of fear from Mr. Mowers and Mr. McCarthy, who they say is trying to put together a compliant conference and views Ms. Leavitt as a maverick who would be difficult to control.

In order to sell himself as the Trumpier candidate, Mr. Mowers has advertised his 2020 endorsement from the former president on his campaign mailers, even though Mr. Trump has not made an endorsement in the current contest. (A top Trump aide said he was “still thinking about the race.”)

Despite the heated attacks and the stylistic differences, operatives with both campaigns admit there is little that distinguishes the candidates on policy. In their ads introducing themselves to voters, Ms. Leavitt and Mr. Mowers both come across as deeply angry about the state of the country under Mr. Biden’s leadership and pitch themselves as fighters who want to secure the border and stand in the way of Mr. Biden’s agenda. Both oppose abortion rights at the federal level, saying the issue should be left to states.

Their rivalry has given Democrats renewed hope of holding the seat. Collin Gately, a spokesman for Mr. Pappas, said the contest had given New Hampshire voters “a front-row seat to the MAGA show” that has prompted both candidates to “run to the right.”

“Their eventual nominee is getting weaker by minute while we’re building a bipartisan coalition to win in November,” Mr. Gately said.


JUST THE NEWS: President of Citizens United slams Biden for labeling those who didn't vote for him 'semi-fascist'

Citizens United President Dave Bossie called out President Joe Biden on "Just the News, Not Noise," for calling those who voted for Donald Trump "semi-fascist."

"Joe Biden's out there calling every Republican in the country and the 75 million people who voted for Donald Trump semi-fascist," said Bossie. "This is a disgusting display of partisanship from a guy who got elected by claiming he was going to be a uniter."

Bossie said that the Republicans' response to this should be to get out and vote in the upcoming 2022 midterm elections to stop the "left-wing onslaught."

"In order for America to recover, we have to have Republicans elected this November," Bossie stated.

Bossie explained that Republicans need to get their messaging across for the midterms and get votes to take back some control.

"Republicans better return to message very, very quickly," Bossie warned. "Your average American doesn't pay attention to elections until post Labor Day. But we have plenty of time."

Bossie believes the Inflation Reduction Act will backfire on Biden in the upcoming midterms.

"This lunacy that Joe Biden has pushed, is not going to help anything," Bossie said in reference to the Inflation Reduction Act. "If anything, it's going to harm the economy."

Bossie explained that another mistake Biden is making is demonizing the MAGA movement.

MAGA just means "Make America Great Again," Bossie explained. "And that's what the Democrats don't want. They hate America. They don't want America to be great again. They want to fundamentally transform America into a socialist nation."


CU Pres. David Bossie on the Joe Piscopo Show

CU Pres. David Bossie on the Joe Piscopo Show


JUST THE NEWS: Trump obsession derails a second Cheney career, but huge war chest hints of 2024 comeback

Political obsessions have been the Achilles heel for the Cheney dynasty. For father Dick, it was the relentless pursuit of Saddam Hussein that tarnished a long career with allegations of bogus intelligence and waterboarding. For daughter Liz, it was hatred for Donald Trump that drove a lifelong Republican into the arms of Democrats who once reviled her family.

On Tuesday, Trump-backed challenger Harriet Hageman, an attorney, resoundingly defeated Rep. Liz Cheney in a Wyoming primary that ended the once-promising congressional career of a rising GOP star.

The younger Cheney will now depart next January from the U.S. House, where just two years ago she had risen to the No. 3 Republican job before her feud with Trump and acceptance of a position on the Democrat-driven Jan. 6 investigative committee roiled her world.

Excommunicated from the GOP, Liz Cheney's defeat ended with one silver lining: a $7.5 million unspent campaign warchest — much of it from outside Wyoming — that positions her well to run for president in 2024 if she chooses.

The one question: Will she be a Republican or a Democrat in such a comeback?

Cheney kept coy about that decision, but did little to dampen speculation of a future run, or the continuation of her battle with the Trump nation.

"The primary election is over," she said in a defiant concession speech in Jackson, Wyo. "But now the real work begins."

That work, she made clear, means stopping the 45th president from returning to the White House in two years.

"Two years ago, I won this primary with 73 percent of the votes," she stated. "I could easily have done the same again. The path was clear, but it would have required that I go along with President Trump's lie about the 2020 election.

"That was a path I could not and would not take. No House seat, no office in this land is more important than the principles that we are all sworn to protect. And I well understood the potential political consequences of abiding by my duty.”

For her part, Hageman rode an early endorsement from Trump to victory while relentlessly portraying Cheney as out of touch with Wyoming and indebted to Inside the Beltway special interests.

In a "Just the News, Not Noise" television interview earlier this year, Hageman slammed Cheney for choosing a seat on the House Armed Service Committee — important to the heavily military citizenry of her second home state of Virginia — while spurning a position on the House Natural Resources Committee essential to Wyoming's oil, gas and mineral industries.

But nothing alienated Cheney from the GOP base more than her decision to join Nancy Pelosi's Jan. 6 inquiry even as the rest of her party boycotted the committee over concerns about fairness.

Longtime Republican David Bossie, a former adviser to Trump, told Just the News on Tuesday it was clear to him that Cheney had conceded the race months ago because she did not spend more than half the $13.5 million she had raised, saving it instead for a future office. Cheney ended the primary with about $7.5 million in the bank, a large part of it coming from liberal California, FEC records show.

"It is outrageous," Bossie said, "to take donors' money ... saying, you're running for Congress in Wyoming. And really, you're running for president, and you're raising this money, you're not spending it on a congressional race, and you're keeping it for some future endeavor."

Whatever beef donors may have, $7.5 million will stretch a long ways for whatever Liz Cheney plans next.


WASHINGTON TIMES: DAVID BOSSIE: The Biden, Nixon parallels

In 1972, in the midst of his first campaign for U.S. Senate, a 29-year-old Joe Biden watched as operatives of President Richard Nixon were caught breaking into the headquarters of the Democrat National Committee at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C.  

Then between 1973 and 1974, a youthful Senator Joe Biden had a front row seat as he witnessed the Senate Watergate Committee expose how Nixon systematically weaponized various levers of the federal government under his control to target his political enemies.

Now, with the shocking news that the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted a raid of President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, it’s clear that then-Senator Biden was taking notes for future use.

This action by federal law enforcement - under the control of Mr. Biden’s Attorney General Merrick Garland and Mr. Biden himself - aimed at a former president and future political rival less than 90 days from the all-important 2022 midterm elections, reeks of a heavy-handed political operation designed to hurt the GOP in ’22 and Trump in ‘24. The thought of this happening in the United States of America was once unimaginable, but not anymore.

The Biden White House’s contention that they knew nothing about the raid beforehand is a lie. The unprecedented search of a former president’s home - which would clearly be seen as yet another political stunt by a politicized Department of Justice and FBI by tens of millions of Americans - would never have been conducted without President Biden’s sign-off. It’s simply inconceivable to believe that FBI Director Christopher Wray would have taken this historically detrimental leap without direct approval from his bosses Biden and Garland.

That’s why it’s imperative for both Attorney General Garland and Director Wray to offer their testimony to Congress immediately and Democrat Committee Chairman in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate should demand no less. The American people deserve an explanation post haste about why this pre-dawn raid at the home of the 45th President of the United States happened, who ordered it, and why. The more time that elapses before this critical testimony takes place, the more it looks like what happened in Florida was a politically inspired event that the Justice Department, FBI, and Democrats in Congress are colluding to cover up. Any delay and obfuscation will ultimately hurt Biden and the Democrats at the ballot box.

Sadly, this latest anti-Trump move by the FBI should come as a surprise to no one because it’s been going on for the entire duration of Donald Trump’s career in politics. Who could ever forget the years-long phony Russia hoax and the infamous 2016 text messages between then-senior FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page in which they openly discuss “stopping” the ultimate political outsider Trump from becoming president?

This is the same Justice Department and FBI - then under the direction of Barack Obama and Joe Biden - that was simultaneously giving Hillary and her cronies a free pass despite overwhelming evidence of criminal activity in the case of Clinton’s private email server and handling of classified information. If there was ever a need for a search warrant to be executed, it was in that case - especially after then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch was caught at an undisclosed meeting with former President Bill Clinton in an airplane on the tarmac at Phoenix airport as the investigation was reaching its culmination.

Fast-forward to 2022 with Republicans poised to make big gains in Congress, Mr. Biden’s approval rating at dangerously low levels, and Trump getting ready to declare himself a candidate for a second term in the White House - here we go again. For a casual political observer, the raid at Mar-a-Lago comes at a very fortunate time for Democrats. The January 6th Select Committee is on August recess and this partisan operation keeps negative Trump stories dominating the news cycle instead of the crushing Biden inflation crisis that is devastating so many American families.

The American people are sick and tired of the two-tiered system of justice that is poisoning our republic and the obvious double standard that’s hiding in plain sight. Why does Trump get raided by 30 FBI agents over Presidential Records Act questions while the internationally compromised Hunter Biden gets the kid gloves treatment? Why does Steve Bannon get prosecuted for contempt of Congress but not Lois Lerner? The list goes on and on and it paints an unflattering picture of a country morphing into a banana republic being run by a darling of the political establishment who is allowed by the mainstream media to behave like some tin-pot dictator.

Similar to the precedent that’s been set by the illegitimate one-sided January 6th Committee on Capitol Hill, the precedent that this FBI raid will set should be of great concern to patriotic Americans who simply want their country and its form of government to continue to be the envy of the world. Using the massive power of government to go after political opponents must never become the norm, because where would it end? Just imagine if the next Republican president took office and immediately ordered a raid of the Clinton and Obama foundations.

Mr. Trump is exactly right, these are dark times for our nation. And unless the American people get some transparency on the FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago from the people who ordered it, don’t expect things to turn around anytime soon under President Joseph Milhous Biden.

• David N. Bossie is president of Citizens United and served as deputy campaign manager for Donald J. Trump for President.


SYRACUSE.COM: CNY race for Congress: Steve Wells ducks Trump talk while opponent embraces ex-prez

Steve Wells, left, faces Brandon Williams in the Republican primary election for the 22nd Congressional District seat in Central New York.

After Steve Wells spent more than an hour being questioned about his loyalty to Donald Trump, Valerie Lutz had run out of patience.

Wells, a Republican candidate for Congress in Central New York, was asked five times at a GOP caucus meeting whether he supported Trump and the former president’s policies.

“You’re kind of skirting a lot of the issues,” Lutz, of Utica, said before asking Wells the fourth question about Trump. “You’re answering but not really answering. Would you support Donald Trump 100 percent?”

Wells became defensive.

“I’m not going to skirt the answer,” Wells said. “I’m going to give you my answer. If you don’t like it, I’m sorry. My answer is, I’m going to support whoever the Republican nominee is for president. Period. I don’t know if he’s going to run or not run.”

Dave Gresack of Holland Patent followed up, his voice rising in anger as he demanded to know if Wells is loyal to Trump.

“Are you behind Donald Trump 100 percent in 2024?” Gresack said. “I want to know. Are you behind Donald Trump 100 percent? Straight up: Yes or no? Yes or no?”

Wells stood firm, refusing to say if he wants Trump to lead the party’s ticket again in 2024. “If he runs and he’s the nominee, the answer is yes,” Wells said.

The tense exchange demonstrates how Donald Trump looms over Republican primary elections here and nationwide. GOP candidates now have to navigate Trump and his supporters, among the most motivated to vote in primary elections.

Some, like those at the Utica meeting, demand that candidates show 100 percent fealty to Trump to gain their support.

There’s stark differences between the GOP candidates in the new 22nd Congressional District, a region now represented by two Republicans – Reps. John Katko and Claudia Tenney.

Wells, 58, of Cazenovia, has mostly avoided talking about Trump, according to 10 Republican and Conservative Party leaders interviewed for this story.

The other candidate in the GOP primary election – Brandon Williams – has taken the opposite approach, openly embracing Trump.

At the caucus meeting in Utica last month, Wells did not respond to a question about Trump and the mob attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Wells and his campaign did not respond to at least a dozen requests from syracuse.com | The Post-Standard for comment about Trump. His campaign manager said Wells is “unavailable” and would not elaborate.

Williams, 54, a tech executive from Cayuga County, said he supports Trump, would not have voted to impeach him in 2019 or 2021, and views him as the leader of the Republican Party.

Williams has Trump issues he won’t touch, either. He did not answer when asked by syracuse.com if he believes Trump incited the Jan. 6 mob attack on the Capitol or whether Mike Pence acted appropriately in certifying the election.

Williams, who won the Conservative Party’s line in the redrawn 22nd District, breaks with Trump only when it comes to his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen.

“The Electoral College rules were followed,” Williams said. “Joe Biden is our president.”

Williams said he believes legitimate questions have been raised about election rules, which tend to vary from state to state. He wants those issues to be addressed. But he won’t make it a priority of his campaign.

“If the 2022 midterms are a readjudication of 2020, Republicans will lose,” Williams said. “And I’m not in this race to lose.”

Williams is making his first bid for elected office and has portrayed himself as a political outsider looking to make change in Washington. He said that was a big reason why he voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020.

He gave direct answers to questions about Trump last month when he appeared before the Republican Constitutional Caucus, a conservative offshoot of the Oneida County Republican Committee.

It’s the same group whose members expressed frustration with Wells June 16 in Utica.

The different approaches are an early indication of how the two GOP candidates will handle the issue of Trump with Republicans before the Aug. 23 primary election.

The district spans Onondaga, Madison and Oneida counties, and a small slice of Oswego County. Democrats have an enrollment advantage in the new district, where Biden outpolled Trump by 7 percentage points in 2020.

Wells appears to be trying to avoid inflaming the Trump Republicans enough to survive the primary but not in a way that hurts him in November’s general election in a moderate district.

Bernie Ment, chairman of the Onondaga County Conservative Party, puts it this way.

“Steve doesn’t directly answer questions, and you’re left speculating what he will do when he gets to Washington,” said Ment, a Trump supporter. “I think he figures he’ll coast to a victory if nobody knows who he is.”

Ment said he plans to ask Trump to back Williams, an endorsement that has had mixed results nationwide.

Trump’s future as the leader of the Republican Party is being tested in primaries across the nation.

The issue has spilled into more than 100 GOP primary elections nationwide, for Congress and state offices, where candidates have pledged loyalty to Trump and repeated the former president’s lies about the 2020 election, according to a Washington Post analysis.

In New York state, the four Republican candidates for governor sparred over Trump and the Jan. 6 attack last month. Rob Astorino, who lost in the June primary, stood out as the only candidate to say Trump “bears some responsibility” for the violence.

In Central New York, Wells and Williams made their pitches to Trump’s base of support when they addressed the Republican Constitutional Caucus in Utica on different nights last month.

Wells and Williams told the caucus they were Trump supporters in 2016 and 2020, voted for him both times, and would vote for him again.

Wells said he can’t think of any Trump policies he disagreed with during his four years in office.

And he said Vladimir Putin probably would not have ordered Russian soldiers to invade Ukraine if Trump were still in the White House.

But it’s what Wells didn’t say that concerned Jim Zecca, one of the caucus members and a founder of the group Mohawk Valley/Central New York for Trump.

“As far as I’m concerned, we didn’t get a clear answer from him on whether he supports President Trump,” Zecca said in an interview. “Being a strong Trump supporter, I want to know.”

After the Utica meeting, the Constitution Caucus posted video recordings of the meetings with both candidates on its website and asked its members to submit their choice for the group’s endorsement.

As of last week, the votes were running about 90 percent in favor of Williams, said Steve Piacentino, the caucus chairman.

Piacentino said he received a text message from Dan Kranz, the campaign manager for Wells, asking him to remove the video of Wells from the website. Piacentino refused.

“I think they were trying to bury something that they found embarrassing,” Piacentino said.

Kranz did not respond to a request for comment.

When Wells was pressed at the meeting about Trump, he repeatedly made references to the need for Republicans to be a “big tent” party in order to succeed.

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, a Republican who endorsed Wells in the primary election, said it doesn’t make sense to judge candidates simply based on their preference for president.

“This caucus is a lot like what we’re seeing across the country,” Picente said of the Constitutional Caucus. “They say, ‘Either you support Donald Trump or you’re not a Republican,’ which is nonsense.”

He added, “If that’s the litmus test here, it’s not fair. It doesn’t mean you’re not a loyal Republican or someone who doesn’t believe in the party’s principles.”

When Picente and Wells met over lunch June 20 at Ventura’s Restaurant in Utica, Trump and his future in the party didn’t come up in nearly two hours, Picente said.

Likewise, Wells didn’t discuss Trump when he met with members of the town of Salina Republican Committee in late May, said Bill Sanford, the former chairman of the Onondaga County Legislature.

Sanford, who attended the meeting, said he has known Wells for years and has a sense of how he feels about Trump.

“I do know the thing that’s so impressive to me about Steve is that he’s a man of character,” Sanford said. “Like a lot of us, I know he was upset at times with Trump over his character, but he liked his policies.”

Wells, co-founder of American Food and Vending Corp., a Liverpool-based national food service company, is a longtime Republican Party leader who has served as treasurer of the state Republican Committee.

Wells launched his campaign in mid-May only after a judge settled a redistricting lawsuit by including Madison County in the new 22nd District. Wells lives in Cazenovia. He immediately became the favorite in the race after picking up key endorsements from Republican committee leaders in Onondaga, Madison, Oneida and Oswego counties.

Until now, Wells worked mostly behind the scenes with the exception of one previous campaign for Congress.

He has a complicated history with Trump’s base, dating to his 2016 GOP primary campaign to succeed retiring Rep. Richard Hanna, a Republican from Oneida County.

Wells lost to Tenney, R-New Hartford, in a three-person race even though he had received the endorsement of Hanna.

Before the primary election, Hanna told syracuse.com that he would never vote for Trump, saying he was embarrassed by his pandering to extreme factions of the party.

After Trump won the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, Hanna became the only House Republican to say he would vote for Hillary Clinton for president.

Tenney was among Trump’s earliest supporters. She declined to comment about the primary election between Wells and Williams.

Wells has also been a confidante and donor to Katko, R-Camillus, one of only 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for inciting the Jan. 6 mob attack.

Wells co-chaired Katko’s campaign finance committee before the congressman announced in January that he would retire from Congress.

Kranz, who served as Katko’s communications director until May, left to run Wells’ campaign.

Wells, who pledged he will spend at least $400,000 from his personal fortune on the campaign, has been a frequent donor to House Republicans from New York.

He has donated more than $50,000 to Republican candidates and party committees since 2003, including to Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, chair of the House Republican Conference, according to federal campaign finance records.

Wells did not donate to either of Trump’s presidential campaigns in 2016 or 2020, nor did Williams, the records show.

Wells previously contributed $1,000 apiece to the presidential campaigns of George W. Bush in 2003 and Mitt Romney in 2012, according to Federal Election Commission records. Williams did not give to any presidential candidates.

Stefanik, one of Trump’s most prominent backers in the House, supported Wells on June 30 in the first major endorsement in the primary campaign.

Stefanik called Wells an “America First leader,” using Trump’s slogan to promote his foreign policy and efforts to withdraw the United States from international organizations.

Stefanik did not elaborate, and her spokesman did not respond to a request for an interview.

Williams countered on Monday with his own endorsement from a figure in Trump’s orbit. David Bossie, Trump’s deputy campaign manager in 2016 and president of Citizens United Political Victory Fund, called Williams the only “America First conservative for Congress in NY-22.”

Wells has not said publicly if he is seeking Trump’s endorsement.

Ment, chairman of the Onondaga County Conservative Party, said he’s going to do his best to make sure any Trump endorsement goes to Williams. Williams said he would welcome Trump’s support.

“What worries me is that Elise Stefanik is going to coordinate with Steve Wells to get him Trump’s endorsement,” Ment said. “I don’t want Wells to have any edge here. He doesn’t deserve Trump’s support. I see him as Katko 2.0″

Williams won the designation for the New York Conservative Party’s ballot line and could choose to stay on that line in November even if he loses the Republican primary election.

Before that designation, Trump sent a handwritten note to Ment offering to help back a local candidate who would challenge Katko in a primary election.

Trump wrote his letter over a syracuse.com story that detailed the Conservative Party’s decision to abandon Katko over his impeachment vote.


CU President David Bossie on Wake Up America

CU President David Bossie on Wake Up America  


WASHINGTON TIMES: DAVID BOSSIE: The left’s grand plan to destroy our country

You can’t make fundamental change to a prosperous nation. That’s why Democrats are purposefully trying to destroy our country as we know it in their quest to change America into the world’s next failed socialist state. From the open borders disaster, the defund police violent crime spike, critical race theory, choking off domestic energy production, to trillions upon trillions in wasteful spending — none of it’s a mistake. In fact, it’s all part of the left’s grand plan.

And as President Biden and the Democrats’ irresponsible, anti-American policies create one crisis after the next for hardworking American families to deal with, they’re also busy breaking our institutions in Washington.

Look no further than the U.S. House Jan. 6 select committee’s abuses of power. Speaker Nancy Pelosi created a taxpayer-funded anti-Trump political committee that doesn’t reflect the will of the people for the first time in history.

The committee consists of seven Democrats and two anti-Trump Republicans. It’s simply a matter of common sense to understand why this sideshow should have never been allowed to move forward, but the mainstream media and the Washington establishment turned a blind eye because the target is former President Donald Trump, the ultimate political outsider. And by now we’re all keenly aware that when dealing with Mr. Trump, the elites have decided that rules, precedent and the rule of law are no longer paramount.

In a recent hearing in federal court, former Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s lawyers argued that his criminal contempt case should be thrown out because the Jan. 6 committee has broken House rules, destroyed over 200 years of precedent and is invalid. Judge Carl Nichols ruled against Mr. Bannon stating that the committee is valid because the full House voted in support of its contempt findings and therefore legitimized them. This is not an insignificant ruling. Going forward, lopsided committees can be formed and contempt votes can be the order of the day — as long as the party in power approves them by a simple majority on the floor of the U.S. House.

Now that these new Pelosi rules are in effect and being enforced, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is in line to be the next speaker of the House when Republicans take control next year, should announce his intent to form a select committee on Biden family corruption, made up of nine Republicans and zero Democrats, and equipped with full subpoena, deposition and contempt authority as a matter of precedent. And when the first subpoenas land on Mr. Biden’s doorstep at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., there is no executive privilege anymore — thanks to Mr. Biden.

When House Republicans held Obama Attorney General Eric Holder and former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress not so long ago, no one ever really thought that the Justice Department would mount prosecutions and they were right. But if you’re a Trump associate like Peter Navarro and you don’t comply with a legally questionable Jan. 6 committee subpoena, get ready for leg shackles.

Will this heavy-handed treatment extend to Biden confidants, advisers and Cabinet members next year when the roles are reversed? I think we all know the answer to that question.

Congress isn’t the only institution that’s under attack by the radical Democrats. Across the street at the Supreme Court, justices’ lives are literally at risk over a pending decision that will likely overturn the disastrous Roe v. Wade abortion decision. Mr. Biden not speaking out against the plot to assassinate Associate Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh is dangerous and the left’s nonchalant attitude toward mobs gathering outside the homes of justices is disgusting.

Meanwhile, the Jan. 6 committee is now targeting Ginni Thomas, the wife of Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, over her concern that the 2020 presidential election was rigged. This is nothing more than a shameful political tactic to pressure Justice Thomas to recuse himself from any Jan. 6-related cases in the future. Obviously, Justice Thomas should reject this unserious attack on his integrity.

To be sure, the anti-Trump Jan. 6 committee is all political, all the time. They’re misusing millions upon millions in taxpayer dollars in pursuit of their ultimate goal to deny Mr. Trump another run for the White House in 2024. But because it’s all political, cracks in the dam are starting to surface.

When Democrat Committee Chair Bennie Thompson recently announced that there would be no criminal referral of Mr. Trump, he did so because the Democrats must have data suggesting that move would have a negative impact on their core mission to remain in control of Congress. RINO anti-Trump committee Vice Chair Rep. Liz Cheney was quick to contradict Thompson — a remarkable sight — saying that no decision had been made about a potential Trump referral. This rift occurred because Thompson and Cheney have different political goals; Thompson wants to keep the House under Democrat control and Ms. Cheney wants to destroy Mr. Trump by any means necessary so she can run for president without him dominating the field.

As the do-nothing Jan. 6 committee hearings come and go, one thing remains clear. The flashy prime-time shows of rehashed news provided nothing for the American people except one brutal takeaway. The Democrat-controlled Congress — with the help of Ms. Cheney — would rather continue their yearslong war against Mr. Trump instead of starting a much-needed war on inflation. They have chosen poorly.

• David N. Bossie is president of Citizens United and served as deputy campaign manager for Donald J. Trump for President.

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