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Kevin McCarthy leaves the House floor at the U.S. Capitol
Kevin McCarthy leaves the House floor at the U.S. Capitol, on Jan. 4, 2023. Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Eyes on 2024: McCarthy allies and conservative group make a deal. What does it mean?

The McCarthy-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund announced it will not spend in open GOP primaries in "safe" Republican seats.

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As Kevin McCarthy scrambled to win support for speaker, the McCarthy-aligned super PAC, Congressional Leadership Fund, and the conservative Club for Growth announced an agreement over primary involvement.

McCarthy’s detractors had called for leadership-affiliated groups to stay out of GOP primaries, and on Wednesday night, CLF’s president, Dan Conston, said in a statement that the group wouldn’t spend money in “any open-seat primaries in safe Republican districts” or give money for its allies to do so. He added that the group will still back incumbents and spend in races that “affect the majority.”

That last caveat makes the promise unclear, as some races in seemingly safe districts can become competitive depending on who wins a primary. And a scan of CLF’s primary spending shows they didn’t play in many primaries in seats considered safe for Republicans in the 2022 cycle. 

But still, the deal may give some conservatives relief as they’ve repeatedly bristled at GOP leadership allies trying to help preferred candidates through GOP primaries in safe Republican districts where those primaries effectively decide who will join Congress. 

Club for Growth President David McIntosh celebrated the deal in a statement, saying it “fulfills a major concern.” He added that “assuming these principles are met, Club for Growth will support Kevin McCarthy for speaker.

In other 2024 news:

Florida man: Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott is running a new national television ad as part of a seven-figure buy, per a campaign press release, that amplifies his decision to run for GOP leader against Kentucky Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell and calls for Republicans to “help us change our party.” 

Midterm lessons: The Republican National Committee’s audit of the 2022 elections will examine former President Donald Trump’s role midterm, RNC committeeman Henry Barbour, who is co-authoring the audit, told NBC News’ Allan Smith. “Looking at President Trump, what has he gotten right? And what has he gotten wrong? And how do we learn from that to win elections going forward?,” Barbour told Smith.  

Building bridges: Ahead of a potential run for re-election, President Joe Biden stressed bipartisanship at an event with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday at an event highlighting the infrastructure package lawmakers passed last year. 

Kennedy out: GOP Sen. John Kennedy announced Wednesday that he will not run for Louisiana governor this year, per the Associated Press. Kennedy wrote in an email to supporters, “At this juncture, I just think I can help my state and my country more in the Senate.”