North Carolina’s family values Republicans have really been crushing it in Congress recently.
First, Mark Meadows ignored multiple complaints of his chief of staff sexually harassing women subordinates. And now married-to-someone-else Congresswoman Renee Ellmers is—allegedly—sexing Kevin McCarthy (also married to someone else.)
We don’t want to get sued, or receive cease and desist letters from Ellmers’ lawyers, so we’ll emphasize that there is a RUMOR going around that Congresswoman Ellmers and Republican House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy— the presumed successor to House Speaker John Boehner, until he announced Thursday that he wouldn’t run—have been having an affair since 2011.
Here’s everything we know:
Kevin McCarthy was widely expected to be elected the next Speaker of the House, but he called a conference of House Republicans yesterday to announce that he wasn’t, in fact, running to be the next Speaker of the House. There was something about the GOP needing a fresh face in order to unite or whatever, which is kinda odd, since McCarthy hasn’t even been in Congress for ten years.
Anyone remember this by the way?
Huffington Post reports that Chicago-based GOP donor and ultraconservative insider Steve Baer sent emails to dozens of people in Congress, including McCarthy and Ellmers, with the subject line “Kevin, Why not resign like Bob Livingston?”
Background: Republican Bob Livingston resigned from his position as speaker-elect in 1998, after Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt printed a story accusing him of having an extra-marital affair; Livingston stated his reason for resigning was that it would be harder for Republicans to impeach then-President Bill Clinton.
Baer has also been described as “an anti-abortion zealot” launching a smear campaign against McCarthy, so take all of this with a grain of salt.
On Wednesday, North Carolina’s most reasonable Republican in Congress, twenty-year veteran Walter B. Jones, wrote a letter to Cathy McMorris Rodgers, chairman of the House Republican Conference, that stated:
“With all the voter distrust of Washington felt around the country, I’m asking that any candidate for Speaker of the House, majority leader, and majority whip withdraw himself from the leadership election if there are any misdeeds he has committed since joining Congress that will embarrass himself, the Republican Conference, and the House of Representatives if they become public.”
But Jones later said he wasn’t referring to McCarthy in his letter, and McCarthy said his resignation had nothing to do with Jones’ admonition, so.
Finally, as a reporter from the Daily Caller pointed out, Renee Ellmers revealed that she may have some sour grapes towards McCarthy. In a comment she made on Wednesday to the D.C. publication The Hill, Ellmers said
“He has not spoken to me personally for my vote, and Jason Chaffetz has, so that’s where I am right now. At this point I will be casting a vote for Jason Chaffetz,” said Ellmers, who is facing a GOP primary challenger. “I can’t vote for someone who doesn’t ask for my vote.
“I’m apparently not high on his priority list,” she added.
Political observers have noted the close relationship between Ellmers and McCarthy. McCarthy campaigned for Ellmers’ re-election last year when she was running against Clay Aiken, and they often appear at public events and on podiums together.
The New York Times wrote of McCarthy in 2011, when he was then the House majority whip, that ‘[s]ometimes when Ellmers is talking to the whip and doesn’t think she’s getting through to him, she claps her hands loudly in front of his face.’
‘Sometimes McCarthy giggles and claps back.’
But Ellmers has denied the affair as well, calling the rumors “completely false” and she thanked her colleagues in the House this morning for sending emails of “prayer and support.”
“As someone who has been targeted by completely false accusations and innuendo, I have been moved by the outpouring of support and prayers from my colleagues, constituents and friends,” Ellmers said in a statement. “Now I will be praying for those who find it acceptable to bear false witness.”
Check back with the INDY for updates to this story. Meanwhile, watch as the GOP devolves into chaos, hedging its bets on last of the young guns, Paul Ryan.