UPDATE, 3:35 p.m.: Ted Cruz endorses Mike Flynn —
“Mike Flynn is the kind of courageous conservative we need in Washington. When Andrew Breitbart launched BigGovernment.com to expose ACORN and fight back against the institutional left and the political class, he chose Mike Flynn as his lieutenant. For 6 years, Flynn helped expose the media’s lies and led many fights against the Obama Administration and Washington’s entrenched political establishment. I’m happy to endorse his campaign for Congress. With Flynn, Central Illinois will have a strong voice to uphold the constitution, defend the 2nd Amendment and stand up to the media and political elite.”
“Hard left” is not the tack that GOP establishment candidates, when being challenged from the right in a solid conservative district, generally employ as an “October” surprise.
Darin LaHood — the son of former Obama administration Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the only Republican to serve in Obama’s cabinet — is running for his father’s former seat, which was recently vacated when Aaron Schock resigned amidst mounting evidence that he had misused funding.
LaHood has been heavily supported by House GOP leadership, including John Boehner and Steve Scalise, who held a private, $1,000-a-plate fundraiser for LaHood in May.
LaHood also received thousands in funding from the Republican Main Street Partnership, a group founded by centrist Steve LaTourette as a vehicle for coaching moderate Republicans through races in which they are challenged from the right.
LaHood also received a visit and an endorsement from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which does happen to support Obama’s plans.
Despite being the clear establishment favorite, LaHood has campaigned as the conservative in this race. Which is why his admission during a local news interview that he would challenge the House GOP — and even some House Democrats — from the left on Cuba is so bizarre. Video is embedded below — LaHood’s Cuba exchange begins at 7:35:
LAHOOD: I think in terms of opening markets for our farmers, particularly in Cuba, I’m supportive of that. You know, this is the 17th largest agriculture district in the country … when you think about the commodities that are grown and produced in central Illinois, we have to open up more markets. That’s jobs and economic opportunity for our farmers in our ag community in Central Illinois. So I’m supportive of opening up new markets, such as Cuba, for our corn and our soybeans and other products. That’s a good thing.
In the past, obviously Cuba has had some issues with human rights and other things. But I think this is a way to, you know, transition them to democracy and economic freedom and I’m supportive of it.
Cuba has, indeed, had some issues with human rights and other things, including mass murder and providing sanctuary — to this day — for dozens of Central and South American terrorists. This is why holding Cuba accountable and standing for its oppressed, imprisoned population has nearly unanimous Republican support: here’s House GOP Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy speaking on June 2 regarding a GOP leadership-supported bill to block funding for Obama to build a U.S. embassy in Cuba:
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters Tuesday the GOP is using the appropriations process to establish its priorities, which includes Cuba.
“I think we have been very clear with our challenges with what’s going on with Cuba and human rights, and we have a difference of opinion with the administration and we have a right to express it,” he said.
That bill passed, 247-176.
LaHood, whose website boasts of his conservative priorities and who has repeatedly distanced himself from his father’s centrism, would presumably have opposed it.
The election is tomorrow, July 7. LaHood’s opponent Mike Flynn has recently won the endorsements of Mark Levin, Louis Gohmert, Dana Loesch, and other conservative favorites.
I am putting in calls to the LaHood and Flynn campaigns, as well as to the offices of Rep. Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Cuban-American Republican who has led the party’s opposition to the Obama/LaHood Cuba policy. Will update here.