The Renee Ellmers Rumor and Kevin McCarthy’s Decision

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There’s a guy out in America who has emails for a massive number of members of Congress and the email addresses of highly influential conservatives outside Congress.

A few days ago, he emailed out to 91 people, including these members of Congress, an email with a series of links to stories alleging a relationship between Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Renee Ellmers of North Carolina. It is worth noting that the two deny a relationship.

But the email began circulating pretty heavily. Conservatives were buzzing about it. The first line pointed to the current scandal about Denny Hastert and concluded suggesting that if the rumor about McCarthy and his personal life were true, he was a national security risk.

Then, as Matt Lewis noted there was this odd quote from Ellmers the other day.

Even some natural leadership allies such as Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) expressed doubts about promoting McCarthy to Speaker, a job second in line to the presidency.

“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.

A lot of people in Washington, including the members of Congress on that email chain, were scratching their head. It appeared there was smoke. Then Congressman Walter Jones demanded candidates with “moral turpitude issues” get out of the race. Add all of this with McCarthy’s statement undermining the Benghazi investigation and . . . well . . . .

It is again worth noting that both parties deny it. But the rumor itself may have led to McCarthy’s collapse. It has become a louder buzz over the past few days with more and more people on and off the hill talking about it. Once Ellmers’ odd quote was out there, the buzzing became chatter.

Now this.

There’s no evidence of the rumor being true, but it has grown. It is reasonable to conclude, given Walter Jones’s repeated invocations of Bob Livingston, who resigned on his way to becoming Speaker because of an affair, that Kevin McCarthy decided to spare himself, his colleague, and their families from a brood of vipers in Washington wishes to smear them all, damn the truth. That is, after all, Washington these days.

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Erick Erickson
By Erick Erickson

Erick Erickson

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