Tea Party insurgent weighs another bid to oust GOP Transportation chair

Tea Party insurgent weighs another bid to oust GOP Transportation chair
© Greg Nash

Tea party insurgent Art Halvorson is weighing yet another bid to oust veteran Rep. Bill ShusterWilliam (Bill) Franklin ShusterThe Hill Interview: Missouri Republican has gavel on his radar For Trump, GOP tax bill could have big downside GOP chairman fundraising for conservative House member MORE (R-Pa.), he told The Hill.

Halvorson unsuccessfully challenged Shuster, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, in the past two election cycles, including running as a Democrat in the 2016 general election after Shuster narrowly won the GOP primary.

But Halvorson released a new poll this week showing that just 32 percent of “likely Republican primary voters” in Pennsylvania’s 9th District believe that Shuster deserves to be reelected. Fifty-five percent of the 578 people who were surveyed, from Nov. 21 to 22, say it’s time for someone new to fill the seat.

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Halvorson, a real estate investor and retired Coast Guard captain, told The Hill that he is considering running again in 2018, with a final decision expected to be made in January.

The new research from Halvorson comes amid speculation about whether Shuster will stick around in Congress after he reaches his term limit as Transportation chairman at the end of next year. Shuster, who replaced his father in representing the 9th District, has been in Congress since 2001.

But Shuster told The Hill that it’s his “intention” to seek reelection next year, even as a number of his fellow term-limited chairmen head for the exits

“I’ve got some other opportunities. I’m pretty senior on the Armed Services Committee,” he said last month. “[Chairman] Mac ThornberryWilliam (Mac) McClellan ThornberryRight scrambles GOP budget strategy Defense hawks warn spending fix could hobble military DACA advocates see efforts gaining steam in the House MORE has another term, but I’m on the top prong there, and I’ve demonstrated that I can get things done.”

When pressed Thursday about the potential primary threat from Halvorson, Shuster brushed off any concern.

"He's a three-time loser," Shuster told The Hill.

Scott Wong contributed to this report, which was updated at 3:25 p.m.