To edge GOP Rep. Michael Guest in Mississippi’s Republican 3rd Circuit primary earlier this month with fewer than 300 votes, Republican congressional candidate Michael Cassidy turned his campaign for the upcoming runoff.
The former Navy fighter pilot and first-time candidate quietly scrubbed his campaign website with a handful of economic policy proposals he originally claimed would “incentivize family formation” — a $20,000 stipend for married couples that is repaid in the event of divorce, a maternity leave program with five years of government benefits and a $250 monthly stipend for married families with children under the age of 10 and $500 for families with children ages 10 to 17. He even went back to his previous one support for “enabling all citizens, regardless of age, to enroll in Medicare” – Abbreviation for Medicare for all.
These proposals are now nowhere to be seen on his campaign platform.
Only a few hours until today’s runoff, the “American Dream” tab of Cassidy’s campaign website now includes the following disclaimer: “Based on helpful feedback from many Conservatives in the 3rd Circuit, I have improved my America Dream policy by focusing on reducing the tax burden on working families with children In place of his since-deleted policy provisions are new proposals aimed at encouraging private companies to offer maternity leave and expanding the child tax deduction from $3,600 to $10,000 for families not yet receiving benefits.
Cassidy has spent his entire campaign claiming he’s walking to the right of Guest, whom he frequently calls “RINO” — short for “Republican in name only.” That claim is now being put to the test in interviews as he struggles to explain his campaign’s flip-flop on various campaign issues. He becomes particularly defensive when asked about his past political commitments related to marriage grants and paid maternity leave — policies he says he originally championed because he wanted to counter America’s declining birthrate and “skyrocketing” divorce rate.
“That was something you know wasn’t, that was never part — although yes, it says on the website — it was never something that was part of the campaign until election day,” Cassidy, the 47.5 Percent of that contributed to the vote to Gast 46.9 in the three-candidate primary on June 8, said in an interview with The shipping on Friday. (Neither Cassidy nor Guest have reached the 50 percent threshold required to win the primaries outright.)
Reports of Cassidy’s platform change in the 11th hour were welcome campaign fodder for Guest, a two-term incumbent who is now struggling to hold his seat more than a year after joining 34 of his Republican peers in the House of Representatives to support the original independent January 6 commission. The proposal failed to garner enough support from Republican senators to clear the filibuster. But she has still managed to fight some Republican incumbents like Guest, who are now accused of voting for the current House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 events, whose only Republican members are Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger are Illinois.
Tuesday’s runoff will see two factions of the Republican Party go head-to-head in one of the country’s reddest states, with Guest defending the Reagan-era GOP, which aims to encourage fiscal restraint, and Cassidy – albeit in a somewhat half-hearted manner – this is the responsibility of emerging family-oriented economic populism aimed at curbing what it calls the “destruction of the American family.”
Guest said he worries that Reagan-era Republicans are a dying breed, citing Cassidy’s past commitments to wide-ranging social media policies as a sign the GOP is treading dangerous ground. “These are positions that no Republican running for Congress would ever take and would ever support, more in line with Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,” Guest said The shipping when asked about the grant policies, which Cassidy removed from his campaign page. “Rather than defending his policy, as soon as he was asked about it, he removed it from his website and has now said he doesn’t believe it.”
All in all, Guest is not a moderate, despite Cassidy’s efforts to portray him as such. He voted to straighten out the results of the 2020 presidential elections in Arizona and Pennsylvania last year, boasts Sterling Credentials by numerous pro-life organizations and defends his support for the January 6 bipartisan commission on the grounds that it would have avoided the “political witch hunt” – his characterization of the current House of Representatives Committee of Inquiry into January 6. He is heading towards today’s runoff election promotional support from the Congressional Leadership Fund hosted by Kevin McCarthy, the House Minority Leader.
But he also knows the runoff won’t be a walk in the park and admits that Cassidy’s campaign tactics have successfully hurt his re-election prospects. “He did a very good job of confusing voters and making them think I supported something I didn’t,” he said in an interview. “Every day I hear from people campaigning why I voted with Nancy Pelosi for the Pelosi Select Committee chaired by Congressman Bennie Thompson?”
Cassidy has also repeatedly scolded against his opponent, who voted to fund “Planned Parenthood” by backing bipartisan lump sum bills to fund the government.
Guest admits he struggled to repel those attacks and somewhat blames voters for taking the bait. “It’s almost like you’re guilty until proven innocent,” Guest said. “And instead of people doing their homework — going online, researching myself, researching my opponent — people took it at face value because they got something in the mail, or they got a robo call, or maybe a TV ad seen, and you immediately believe that I wasn’t the conservative member of Congress that I’ve always been.”
Meanwhile, Cassidy is still struggling to answer basic questions about the American Dream section of his campaign website. When asked if he would consider including policies that would incentivize paternity leave, for example, Cassidy replied, “I’ll have to get back to you on that.”
And when he pressed which constituents, lawmakers, or donors gave him the feedback that ultimately led to an overhaul of his American Dream political platform, he didn’t provide a straight answer. “Guys, you know, it was a very hectic day, the day after the election. I know at least some of the volunteers on my staff,” Cassidy said. “If they had donated to my campaign, then no – it was a small donation. There was no money, I don’t really have – I don’t have any corporate PAC money. There isn’t – not even the people who have given me a decent amount of money as an individual or as a couple, they’re not, they don’t influence me – that I choose to do.”
Cassidy prefers to focus on his enthusiasm for other Republican policy proposals such as passing tough election integrity measures, banning puberty blockers for children under 18 and completing the southern border wall. He is too told the voters that if elected, on his first day in office he will begin impeachment proceedings against President Joe Biden for his southern border policies and botched withdrawal from Afghanistan.
If he wins today’s primary, Cassidy also promises to be a thorn in the side of what is likely soon-to-be Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy. “I would never vote for Kevin McCarthy for a leadership position in the Republican caucus,” Cassidy said The shipping.