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Republicans who voted to oust Kevin McCarthy face new ad onslaught

An outside group is launching new ads against three House Republicans who are facing primary challengers and voted to remove former Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
Nancy Mace speaks to reporters outside the Capitol
Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., outside the Capitol last month. Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images file

Three House Republicans who voted to oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy are facing a new onslaught on the airwaves, as an outside group with ties to a McCarthy ally launches new ads targeting them over border security funding. 

American Prosperity Alliance, a nonprofit advocacy group, has placed nearly $700,000 in ad spending targeting Reps. Nancy Mace of South Carolina, Bob Good of Virginia and Eli Crane of Arizona, according to the ad tracking firm AdImpact. The group also spent more than $90,000 targeting Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, a top general election target for the GOP. 

The group, which was founded 2022, announced an effort Wednesday targeting members of Congress “who have voted against funding for enhanced border security in the past,” it said in a news release. 

The group launched two ads targeting Good and Mace, with each spot saying they “voted against funding our border security, opposed billions for ICE, opposed millions for new technology, opposed thousands of new border agents.” The ads point to their votes against a sweeping government spending package, which 112 House Republicans opposed. 

Republican strategist Brian O. Walsh, a close ally of McCarthy, R-Calif., is a senior adviser to American Prosperity Alliance. Walsh told NBC News he doesn’t speak for McCarthy.

As a nonprofit organization, the group doesn’t have to disclose its donors, and it’s not clear whether McCarthy is involved in this specific effort. Allies were reluctant to directly call it a “revenge tour” against the former colleagues who banded together to oust him. 

Instead, a source familiar with the groups’ strategy allowed that McCarthy had been active in supporting challengers to some GOP incumbents but said it was less an active “recruitment” process and more that McCarthy was supporting candidates who had already organically chosen to run. 

While McCarthy’s exact role isn’t clear, he did signal in October that he could take on some of the lawmakers who cost him the speakership.

“A lot of them I helped get elected, so I probably should have picked somebody else,” McCarthy told reporters, speaking about the eight Republicans who voted to oust him. Asked whether he would support primary challengers against those members, McCarthy said at the time, “I’m a free agent now, aren’t I?”

Mace, Good and Crane all face credible primary challengers. Crane faces former Yavapai County Supervisor Jack Smith in Arizona, and Good faces state Sen. John McGuire in Virginia. Good has also faced some criticism from allies of former President Donald Trump for endorsing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the 2024 presidential primaries.

Good’s spokesperson didn’t respond to a request for comment. Good, the chairman of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus, is expected to draw more opposition ahead of his primary in June. Last month, Republican Main Street Partnership, a group backing centrist House Republicans, announced its super PAC would engage in the race to defeat Good, The New York Times reported. The group hasn’t yet started spending in the race. 

Mace faces attorney Catherine Templeton, who served in two positions in former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s Cabinet. And this week, Templeton got a boost from another outside group. 

A super PAC tied to Winning for Women — a group that supports female GOP candidates — launched a new TV ad Tuesday touting Templeton. The group, along with Haley, had backed Mace in her tough 2022 primary. But this time it's backing Mace's challenger.

“We are proud to support principled leaders like Catherine Templeton who are interested in governing in a conservative and responsible manner,” Winning for Women Action Fund executive director Danielle Barrow said in a statement. 

Mace, a former Trump critic, ultimately reversed course and endorsed him in the 2024 GOP presidential primaries, and he returned the favor. Templeton also backed Trump in the race after she initially supported Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.

Barrow described Templeton as “the only consistent conservative in this race who Lowcountry voters can depend on and trust to secure our border, stop inflation, and truly do the people’s work in Washington.” 

It’s most likely just the beginning of the efforts to take on McCarthy’s detractors.

“More groups will get involved,” said the source familiar with the groups’ strategy. “This isn’t the end.”