Matt Gaetz deposed Kevin McCarthy and the donations came pouring in

The plot to oust Kevin McCarthy from the House speakership wasn’t just successful — it paid off.

Especially for Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who led the charge.

Six of the eight Republicans who voted to oust McCarthy saw an increase in small-dollar donations from the third to the fourth quarter of 2023, according to a POLITICO analysis of new campaign finance disclosures.

And Gaetz easily had the biggest jump in pure dollars — raking in an additional $725,000 from donors who gave less than $200, quarter-over-quarter — and saw the second-highest growth as a percentage. In that measure, he trailed only Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.), a likely Senate candidate who effectively had no small-dollar operation in the third quarter.

“As the only Republican in Congress who refuses all lobbyist and PAC donations, we are humbled and honored by the support we have received from across the country,” Gaetz said in a statement. “And we hope folks keep giving!”

Gaetz was a thorn in McCarthy’s side for the entirety of his brief speakership. He was part of the group of Republicans who repeatedly opposed McCarthy in January 2023, leading to 15 rounds of voting that ultimately ended only when Gaetz and some of his allies voted present — and after significant concessions from McCarthy, including making it easier for disgruntled members to remove the speaker.

The Floridian fundraised in January over his opposition to McCarthy — and then again in October, when he filed the motion to vacate that ultimately led to him and seven other Republicans ousting their party leader.

Gaetz became the face of the movement against McCarthy — and his fundraising saw the most significant growth, not just among small-dollar donors. His campaign raised nearly $770,000 in the third quarter of the year, before the Oct. 3 ouster of McCarthy, and saw an explosion to $1.8 million over the next three months.

Three other members who voted to boot McCarthy also saw a boost in their overall fundraising: Reps. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Bob Good (R-Va.) and Nancy Mace (R-S.C.). But the gambit didn’t work for everyone. The remaining four — retiring Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), first-term Rep. Eli Crane (R-Ariz.), Rosendale and Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) — saw dips in their overall fundraising.

Burchett, who represents a safe district, only saw a modest drop. Crane’s fundraising spiraled by over a quarter, while Rosendale saw his dip more than 70 percent — not a good sign for him as he publicly teases a Senate run in Montana.

Rosendale has been touring the state — recently stopping with Gaetz in Joliet, Montana.

Allies of the deposed speaker, who resigned from Congress at the end of last year, have vowed revenge on the eight Republicans who voted against him.

Behind the scenes, Brian O. Walsh — a top McCarthy ally — is recruiting primary challengers to take on members of the “Gaetz Eight,” POLITICO reported Wednesday. While the former speaker is not involved day-to-day in the efforts, it has his blessing and he is briefed on the activities.

This cycle, they have identified three members who are most vulnerable to a challenge: Mace, Good and Crane.

Kimberly Leonard contributed to this report.


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