McCarthy-backed Republican wins contested Texas House primary
Texas Republican Morgan Luttrell won a contested House primary over an opponent backed by the GOP’s far-right flank.
Luttrell, a former Navy SEAL endorsed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, bested several other candidates in the primary, including conservative activist Christian Collins, who was backed by Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.). Collins had also previously worked for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
Luttrell’s victory sets him up as the favorite to win the general election to replace retiring Rep. Kevin Brady (R) in Texas’s deep-red 8th Congressional District outside of Houston.
Collins and his allies had seized on Luttrell’s support for McCarthy and endorsements from people like Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), one of former President Trump’s fiercest intraparty critics, to suggest that Luttrell is insufficiently conservative.
The race also underscored the divided bases of the GOP. Collins founded the Texas Youth Summit, which promotes speakers who tout the “Judeo-Christian principles this country was founded upon,” while Luttrell came from a more traditional military background.
The results of the primary could also reverberate in the battle for the Speakership should Republicans retake the House in November. Luttrell has indicated that he would back McCarthy, while Collins said he would follow the recommendations of the hard-line House Freedom Caucus, which has grown closer to McCarthy but sunk his 2015 Speaker bid.