Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) released a scathing statement Wednesday morning blasting House GOP leaders for the primary loss of fellow Freedom caucus member Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), a fifth generation farmer who found himself without a job Tuesday night after playing official agitator to his own party’s leadership for years.
“At times, Tim’s commitment to fighting for smaller, more accountable
government required him to stand up and say no to ‘business as usual’ in
Washington,” Jordan wrote in the release. “For this, he was punished by the same party insiders and special interests that Republican voters across the country overwhelmingly rejected at the ballot box throughout the presidential nomination process.”
Since entering Congress on the tea party wave of 2010, Huelskamp proudly took on the mantle of the far right in Congress. But his actions –not falling in line on key votes– came at a cost. After a strong rebuke from then-House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) in 2012, Huelskamp was ousted from the House Agriculture Committee, a move that left voters back in his farm-heavy district without representation as the panel negotiated a major farm bill. Later, Huelskamp voted against the farm bill citing conservative purity, another move that came back to haunt him in his primary.
Over the last few months, Huelskamp had tried to be reinstated on the Agriculture Committee by appealing to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI). He asked Ryan to publicly promise he’d be put back on the committee next year. Ryan declined. Instead, his office said the decision would be made by a steering committee at the end of the year.
In a dramatic political switcheroo Huelskamp became a creature of Washington in ads back in the district as his opponent blasted him for not being able to deliver for farmers back home. He lost dramatically Tuesday night –57 percent to 43 percent– against establishment-backed obstetrician Roger Marshall.
The race was being closely watched, but polls showed the race being closer than it turned out to be.
Jordan said it was House leaders who put their weight behind Marshall.
“In an ugly and dishonest campaign, Tim’s record was attacked and misrepresented by big money special interest groups who wanted to exact
their revenge,” Jordan said. “Republicans need to be unified behind conservative principles to stop the Obama/Clinton agenda. The House Republican leadership’s opposition to Tim Huelskamp significantly damaged the ability of House Republicans to do that.”
Huelskamp’s agriculture record became a cornerstone of the campaign as outside money poured into the race from major donors. The Koch brothers and the Club For Growth backed Huelskamp while the conservative Ending Spending Action Fund, a group that relies heavily on the Ricketts family, supported Marshall.