Oct 20, 2023 - Politics & Policy

House conservative dismisses death threats as hardliners dig in

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Rep. Nicholas LaLota (R-NY) (L) talks to Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) on Wednesday. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

One House conservative is pushing back against concerns over death threats made to Republican lawmakers who've opposed speaker nominee Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), calling it a "red herring."

Why it matters: Republican lawmakers who backed other candidates on the House floor have reported an uptick in threats of violence against them, and many have asked Jordan and his allies to help.

  • House Freedom Caucus Chairman Scott Perry (R-Pa.) pushed back on Friday, telling reporters: "All of us in Congress receive death threats. I don't know if that's a news flash for anybody here. That's nothing new to any member of Congress. We all know it. That is another red herring."
  • Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa) and Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.) have shared that they have received credible death threats, with Rep. Nick LaLota (N.Y.) sharing a post on social media from an individual stating "go f**k yourself and die."
  • Ferguson told Republicans during a closed-door meeting Thursday that he'd had police stationed at his child's school — along with his home — over threats he'd gotten, according to a senior GOP source familiar with the discussion.

Between the lines: In addition to threats, members who have backed other candidates say they've faced other forms of retribution.

  • Rep. Ken Buck (Colo.) said that the landlord for one of his district offices is terminating his lease due to his vote.
  • Multiple members said that their office phones are being bombarded with "profanity-laced" calls from outside their districts, hindering their ability to hear from and handle constituent issues.
  • GOP lawmakers have encouraged Jordan to reach out to grassroots organizers and influencers in the wake of the threats, with rallies being held in their districts.

What they're saying: Jordan spokesman Russell Dye told Axios the Ohio Republican is "absolutely not" endorsing or encouraging organizers to hold rallies.

  • And a source close to Jordan said he has spoken to news organizations, groups and influencers asking them to stop.

What's next: A growing number of GOP lawmakers are expected to flip their support against Jordan on the floor, but the Ohio Republican asserted on Friday that he has no plans to drop out.

  • One GOP lawmaker told Axios that "people are really upset" with his decision to remain in the race despite dwindling support.

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