The Washington-based advocacy and support hub for Tea Party and conservatives activists across the country threw its support June 13 behind Rep. Raul R. Labrador (R.-Idaho) in his bid for House Majority Leader against GOP Whip Rep. Kevin O. McCarthy (R.-Calif.).
“Americans deserve a choice in leadership, and thanks to Raul Labrador, Republicans don’t have to settle for the ‘next guy in line,’” said Matt Kibbe, the president of FreedomWorks, which interacts with more than 6.5 million activists in its community.
“Unlike Kevin McCarthy, Labrador is ready to make good policy and fiscal responsibility a priority in the House,” Kibbe said.
Labrador currently has a 92 percent lifetime score on FreedomWorks’ Congressional Scorecard, and is a two-time winner of the organization’s Freedom Fighter Award, he said. McCarthy has a 73 percent lifetime rating.
The House Republican Conference meets June 19 to choose the successor to Rep. Eric I. Cantor (R.-Va.), who lost the June 10 GOP primary to Randolph-Macon College’s Professor David A. Brat. Cantor will serve out his term, but announced he would step down as majority leader the day after his loss. He also announced his support for McCarthy to succeed him.
As conservatives scrambled for a candidate, McCarthy put his whip operation into action, sending deputy whips to round up vote commitments, in addition to his personal outreach to committee chairmen, such as Rep. David L. Camp (R.-Mich.), the chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means.
As Labrador weighed his options, FreedomWorks called on members of its membership network to urge him to run. The Tea Party service center even put out the hashtag: #RunRaulRun to fire up the movement on Twitter.
When he decided to challenge McCarthy, the Idaho congressman said he was not ready.
“I was stunned when Eric Cantor lost his primary election earlier this week,” he said. “Eric is a good friend and I have tremendous respect for him. But the message from Tuesday is clear – Americans are looking for a change in the status quo.”
Labrador said the current GOP House leadership is alienated from what is going on outside of Washington.
“I want a House Leadership team that reflects the best of our conference. A leadership team that can bring the Republican conference together,” he said. “A leadership team that can help unite and grow our party. Americans don’t believe their leaders in Washington are listening and now is the time to change that.”
Growing up, the congressman said he listened to the lessons his mother taught him.
The husband and father of five children said he was raised by a single mother from Puerto Rico, who worked different jobs.
His mother through the tough times, his mother told him to study, work home and play by the rules he would achieve the American Dream, he said.
“Republicans must be willing to take these challenges head on with new leadership, fresh ideas, and a different approach,” he said.
“I am running for Majority Leader because I want to help create a vision of growth and opportunity for everyone and start getting to work for the American people,” said the Eagle, Idaho resident, who was elected to Congress in 2010 as part of the Tea Party wave of 86 other Republican freshmen.