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GOP hard-liners are pushing to oust House colleagues — and they have a new target

Hard-right Republicans in Congress have so far failed to oust the handful of their GOP colleagues they’ve targeted in primaries this year. But the effort is moving forward, and Rep. William Timmons of South Carolina is next on their list.

It’s the latest incumbent primary in an ongoing proxy war for House GOP divisions over whether it’s best to work across the aisle and find some amount of common ground to pass legislation —or hold the conservative line at all costs, even if it means grinding Congress to a halt.

GOP Rep. Nancy Mace’s challenge in her primary has attracted more attention in South Carolina. But Timmons, a three-term congressman, is also facing a competitive primary Tuesday against state Rep. Adam Morgan, who's the leader of the Freedom Caucus in the South Carolina Legislature and has the support of several members of Congress.

For Timmons, this race is not about his conservative credentials.

“This isn’t a ‘Freedom Caucus versus William Timmons.’ This is a fringe, loud component of the Freedom Caucus,” Timmons said. “I have a more conservative voting record than six out of the nine people that have endorsed my primary opponent out of the Republican conference.”

“So it’s not about policy,” Timmons said. “It’s about tactics.”

Timmons does have some major advantages, including spending and support from outside groups and the most coveted endorsement in GOP politics: former President Donald Trump.

Yet he still could be vulnerable. Timmons narrowly avoided a runoff two years ago against lesser-funded opponents and then faced allegations of an extramarital affair. Timmons declined to comment on those allegations, but he has since divorced and told NBC News that he and his ex-wife are “still on very good

Read more on nbcnews.com