The successful plot to remove Kevin McCarthy from the House speakership had notable financial repercussions, particularly benefiting Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), the leader of the movement.
An analysis of campaign finance disclosures reveals that six out of the eight Republicans who voted to oust McCarthy experienced an increase in small-dollar donations from the third to the fourth quarter of 2023.
Among these Republicans, Gaetz saw the most substantial growth, securing an additional $725,000 from donors contributing less than $200 in the quarter-over-quarter comparison.
He also exhibited the second-highest growth percentage, surpassed only by Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.), a probable Senate candidate who had minimal small-dollar operations in the third quarter.
Gaetz, a constant adversary during McCarthy’s speakership, played a pivotal role in the movement against him. Gaetz, along with some allies, voted present after 15 rounds of voting in January 2023, which ultimately led to McCarthy’s ouster.
Gaetz capitalized on his opposition to McCarthy, fundraising in January and then again in October when he filed the motion to vacate.
His campaign’s fundraising skyrocketed, going from nearly $770,000 in the third quarter before McCarthy’s removal to $1.8 million in the following three months. Other Republicans who voted against McCarthy also experienced boosts in overall fundraising, including Reps. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Bob Good (R-Va.), and Nancy Mace (R-S.C.).
However, the strategy did not prove successful for all, as Reps. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), Eli Crane (R-Ariz.), Rosendale, and Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) saw declines in their overall fundraising.
While Burchett’s drop was modest, Crane’s fundraising decreased by over a quarter, and Rosendale’s plummeted by more than 70 percent, raising concerns as he hints at a Senate run in Montana.
With McCarthy’s allies vowing revenge on the “Gaetz Eight,” Brian O. Walsh, a top McCarthy ally, is reportedly recruiting primary challengers behind the scenes.
Although McCarthy is not directly involved in these efforts, he supports them and stays informed about the activities. Mace, Good, and Crane are identified as the three members most vulnerable to a primary challenge in the current cycle.