While GOP leaders typically stay out of primary contests, these members are getting snubbed or facing outright opposition from the party establishment. At least one member of GOP leadership — retiring Rep. Paul Mitchell of Michigan — has decided to back a primary opponent to hard-line conservative Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who was kicked off his committees for making racist remarks earlier this year.
King’s comments “reflect negatively upon Republicans and, as a result, I will contribute to his primary opponent,” Mitchell, the sophomore class representative, said in a statement.
Mitchell’s stance underscores a broader feeling in the GOP conference, where many Republicans would be relieved to see fresh faces with less baggage emerge victorious in some of these primary races. Otherwise, the GOP will continue to take the reputational hit that comes with these lawmakers serving in office — or worse, the party could lose those seats in the general election.