Thomas Massie, GOP rebel who defied Trump and tried to oust Johnson, survives primary threats

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Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., prevailed in a three-way Republican primary on Tuesday night, paving the way to an eighth term representing his deep-red Kentucky district.

Massie enjoyed a decisive victory during what’s been a tumultuous period for both the House GOP and himself.

The libertarian Republican was one of three GOP rebels pushing to oust House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., from power over his bipartisan work on government spending and foreign aid. Their bid failed this month when a significant number of Democrats joined a majority of Republicans to block a House-wide vote.

Massie told reporters in late April that his voters were behind him, even as a litany of GOP lawmakers lined up to deride the effort and warn it would cost them the November election.

‘I haven’t gotten any blowback,’ Massie said at the time. ‘I explained the problem with Mike Johnson and the three big betrayals he’s made to the majority of Republicans here and the majority of Republicans back home. And they understand.’

He’s also one of the few Republicans who have not shied away from confronting former President Trump and his influence in the party.

Massie was one of the most vocal surrogates for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ now-defunct presidential primary bid. More recently, he accused Trump of ‘ridiculous bullying tactics’ for calling for a Republican to challenge sitting House Rep. Laurel Lee, R-Fla.

His Tuesday primary victory comes despite his claim that hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent against him by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a bipartisan pro-Israel lobby that has spent big this cycle against lawmakers who have opposed legislation affirming U.S. support for Israel and condemning antisemitism.

He brushed off AIPAC’s threat in a statement to voters before polls closed, writing on X, ‘Election Day in KY! It’s a referendum on whether a guy can go to DC and vote against foreign aid, foreign wars, and sanctions, while supporting free speech, privacy, & the [Second Amendment]. AIPAC claims to have spent $400k against me. They won’t be happy tonight!’

His challengers included former Kentucky gubernatorial candidate Eric Deters and Michael McGinnis, a self-described ‘sixth generation Kentuckian,’ according to his campaign site.

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