Firebrand Matt Gaetz Fought McCarthy and Won – He Now Has a New Republican Target

When it comes to a fellow Republican who almost lunged at him last fall, Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida appears to prefer waving bye-bye rather than letting bygones be bygones.

Gaetz will appear at a Feb. 16 rally as part of his effort to support a Republican challenger trying to unseat Republican Rep. Mike Bost of Illinois, according to Politico.

Bost and Gaetz had a confrontation in the chaotic, emotional days after Gaetz helped engineer the downfall of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

During a closed-door meeting, as Gaetz stood up to speak, Bost called out, “If you don’t sit down, I’ll put you down,” Politico reported. An Axios report from the time said Bost was “almost lunging at him.”

And now, Gaetz is backing Darren Bailey, who is challenging Bost in a Republican primary.


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“I need backup in Congress. @DarrenBaileyIL is a true fighter who will rock the establishment, not bow to them like @RepBost,” Gaetz said in a post on X.

“Thank you,@mattgaetz!” Bailey responded.

Is Gaetz right in doing this?

“My opponent’s a career politician too busy granting amnesty to illegal immigrants and sending billions to Ukraine to remember the folks back home. I’m eager to join forces on the campaign trail and fight to secure our border, complete Trump’s wall, and put my district and America first,” Bailey wrote.

Gaetz said he has a record of success in his campaigns, Politico noted.

“I helped defeat Liz Cheney when she faced a strong challenger in her race, and I’m confident we can do the same when we hit the trail in Southern Illinois,” Gaetz said in a statement.

Bailey would be “an upgrade over the lackluster Republican incumbent,” Gaetz said.


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Bost shrugged off Gaetz coming into his district.

“I never considered Matt a threat. I considered him an ass, but never a threat,” he said.

Gaetz previously worked against Cheney, who was ousted in the 2022 election, and former Republican Rep. Ross Spano, who lost his 2020 GOP primary.

Bailey has the endorsement of Republican Rep. Mary Miller of Illinois, a member of the Freedom Caucus, according to Business Insider.

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