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Kevin McCarthy’s Opera Bouffe Primary Maneuver Against Matt Gaetz

State of the Union: Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy is backing a primary challenge against his arch-rival Rep. Matt Gaetz, which is just the kind of move that ultimately cost the Californian his speakership.

House Minority Leader McCarthy Briefs Press In Weekly News Conference

Kevin McCarthy wants his revenge.

What is left of the former House speaker’s political operation seems to be supporting a primary challenge against Florida’s Rep. Matt Gaetz, the House GOP member who led the effort to oust McCarthy from the speaker’s office last October. McCarthy’s chosen fighter is Aaron Dimmock, the director of executive development for the Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis and Overholtz Center for Leadership at the University of West Florida and former Navy aviator. Dimmock filed just before the deadline to appear on the primary ballot in August and listed the treasurer of McCarthy’s American Patriots PAC, Maria Wojciechowski, as his campaign committee’s treasurer. He currently has a residence in Pensacola, Florida, but registered to run using a Missouri drivers license and listed Jefferson City, Missouri as his location on his LinkedIn page as late as April 30. Dimmock changed his LinkedIn location to Pensacola after Gaetz tweeted about Dimmock's previously listed location.


While Dimmock served as the director at Chapman & Co., a company that provides workplace training sessions and seminars, the Daily Caller reported that he made a series of pro-DEI and pro-BLM posts in the aftermath of the George Floyd riots.

LinkedIn posts on Dimmock’s page included messages like “I want diversity and inclusion to be a priority,” “#inclusivelanguage,” and “#diversityandinclusion.” One repost on Dimmock’s page is a series of commitments to the “black community” by Chapman & Co.

“Meet Aaron W. Dimmock — the BLM supporting DEI instructor running against me in the Republican Primary,” Gaetz tweeted. “I knew former Representative McCarthy would be getting a puppet of his to run. I didn’t know it would be a Woke Toby Flenderson!”

In response to this new challenger, Gaetz's campaign team has purchased a number of internet domains, such as AaronDimmockForCongress.com,  AaronDimmock.com, and DimmockForCongress.com. “Meet DEI Dimmock,” AaronDimmockForCongress.com reads.

Dimmock will run; Gaetz will beat him. This story, however, is mostly about Kevin McCarthy. Increasing the debt limit, passing a continuing resolution, and deal making with Democrats behind the GOP conference’s back all played their part in McCarthy’s ouster, but above all, it was this kind of political maneuvering that did McCarthy in.


In the 2022 midterm elections, McCarthy and his political operation deeply intervened in the GOP primary process. The Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF) and other McCarthy-aligned groups spent millions attacking conservative candidates like Anna Paulina Luna, Joe Kent, and Anthony Sabatini. If these GOP candidates made it through their primaries damaged by McCarthy-world attacks from the left, McCarthy would parachute in for the general and fundraise. In Kent’s case, McCarthy’s help was too little, too late. The GOP barely took back the House of Representatives.

It was the kind of moves McCarthy made in 2022, and is making now with Dimmock, that ultimately forced McCarthy to cut a deal with House conservatives for the speakership, which stipulated that leadership would stay out of open primary challenges and, more importantly, lowered the threshold for the motion to vacate.

History is repeating itself in the 2024 election cycle in a number of ways: Biden v. Trump, the GOP has weak Congressional leadership heading into November, and McCarthy is up to his old tricks. How might this bode for Republicans hoping to defend their slim majority?

Correction: Based on erroneous reports, this story previously claimed Aaron Dimmock lived outside of Florida's 1st Congressional District. Dimmock has a residence in district.