McCarthy yanks endorsement of California candidate over social media posts
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Monday rescinded his endorsement of Ted Howze, a candidate for a California House district, after social media posts expressing anti-Muslim sentiment and accusing prominent Democrats of murder and drug use came to light.
“In light of Mr. Howze’s disappointing comments, Leader McCarthy has withdrawn his endorsement. As the Leader has previously stated, hateful rhetoric has no place within the Republican Party,” Drew Florio, a McCarthy spokesman, said in a statement on Monday, Politico reported.
In the posts, Howze, who is challenging Rep. Josh Harder (D), accused the Black Lives Matter movement of voting “in lock step for the same political party who held you as physical slaves and now wish to keep you as political slaves unable to effect any real change for the better,” he said Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) had been “hitting the crack pipe too hard” and questioned whether “a Muslim [can] ever truly be a good American citizen.”
Howze initially denied having written the posts, calling a follow-up story by Politico “fake news.”
McCarthy condemned the posts last week but did not officially pull his endorsement of Howze, saying, “The content in question on Mr. Howze’s social media channels is disappointing and disturbing. Bigotry and hateful rhetoric — in any form — have no place in the Republican Party. These posts are unacceptable and do not reflect the Mr. Howze that I have briefly interacted with.”
In a later video call, however, Howze insisted to supporters that McCarthy would get behind him if the race, which Harder won by 5 points in 2018, looked within striking distance for the GOP, prompting the top House Republican to formally pull his support.
“We’ve talked with Leader McCarthy,” Howze said in the video. “They’ve told us, keep doing what we’re doing. Raise money. If in September we are one of the competitive races in California that they will be here to come into the race.”