Establishment Republicans Are Trying To Kneecap The New State-Level Freedom Caucus

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Kate Anderson Contributor
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Republican elected officials are growing frustrated with a growing coalition of state freedom caucuses modeled after the inaugural group in Washington, D.C., which has opposed pieces of legislation supported by the last two Republican speakers, Kevin McCarthy of California and Mike Johnson of Louisiana, according to The Associated Press.

Missouri was the most recent state to create its own chapter, joining an additional ten states, but some Republicans have expressed concerns at the constant infighting, according to the AP; House members battled both McCarthy and new Speaker Mike Johnson over spending bills and aid to countries like Ukraine. South Carolina, Idaho, and, as of last week, Missouri party leaders have stripped members of the caucus of certain privileges in an attempt to keep the chapters in line, sparking calls for resignations and heated debates. (RELATED: ‘It Was The Right Decision’: Two Wild Months Later, Freedom Caucus Chair Stands By His Vote To Oust McCarthy)

“We’re willing to stand up and not be silenced by these guys,” Republican state Sen. Bill Eigel of Missouri, a state Freedom Caucus member, said, according to the AP.

Eigel and five other members of the coalition had maintained a filibuster since Missouri’s legislative session began on Jan. 3, according to the Missouri Independent. As a result, Senate President Pro Tempore Caleb Rowden recently censured Eigel and several of his colleagues, taking away committee seats and special parking spots, according to the AP.

Other state Senate Republicans have taken harder stances, with state Senate Majority Leader Cindy O’Laughlin telling the Independent that she would “absolutely” vote to expel Eigel.

“I don’t think at any time, in this chamber, anyone has tied up the floor and stopped every senator from advancing their bills more than you,” O’Laughlin told Eigel during a floor debate, according to the Independent.

Several members of the congressional Freedom Caucus expressed their support for Eigel and his colleagues, with Republican Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona writing on X that he “stands with the Missouri Freedom Caucus.”

In September, the Georgia GOP suspended state Sen. Colton Moore, a member of the state’s Freedom Caucus chapter, after declining his attempts to impeach Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis over her indictment of former President Donald Trump, according to the AP. In South Carolina, Republican leadership removed Freedom Caucus members from the House Republican caucus in January 2023 for failing to comply with rules barring campaigns against other fellow members, according to FITS News, a local media outlet.

Republican state Rep. Adam Morgan of South Carolina, a member of the caucus, recently called out members of the party for pushing a pro-abortion circuit court appointee endorsed by Planned Parenthood, according to the Daily Signal.

“This is just the latest damning evidence that the Republican establishment in SC is no different than the Liberal Democrats,” Morgan said.

The Congressional Freedom Caucus has similarly struggled to make peace with the larger party, taking up sides against Johnson’s recent spending package, which passed largely due to Democratic votes.

“We are seeing patriots in action as the Missouri Freedom Caucus fights for the things Republicans promised voters they would do. The establishment is fighting them hard but they aren’t giving up,” Republican Rep. Bob Good of Virginia, the chairman of the Freedom Caucus, told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement.

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