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Maverick Kentucky congressman has avoided fallout at home after antagonizing GOP leaders

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Republican Rep. Thomas Massie has made a habit of antagonizing Washington’s most powerful leaders in his own party, but so far it hasn’t eroded his support back home in his staunchly conservative Kentucky district.

Four years ago, Massie drew the wrath of then-President Donald Trump when the congressman singlehandedly caused a delay in passing a massive COVID-19 relief package. Trump called the Kentuckian a “third rate Grandstander” for his stalling tactic. The smackdown would have been a political death knell for many GOP politicians, but for Massie it was a bump in the road as he cruised to reelection that year.

This month, Massie joined a revolt against House Speaker Mike Johnson — a longshot effort overwhelmingly rejected by his colleagues. Yet Massie sounds unconcerned about any fallout from his constituents for trying to oust the GOP House leader — nicknamed “MAGA Mike Johnson” by Trump.

“It’s a lot of inside baseball and ultimately, because he’s still the speaker, I think a lot of people don’t care,” Massie said in a phone interview Wednesday.

Massie is being challenged by fellow Republicans Eric Deters and Michael McGinnis in Kentucky’s primary election Tuesday. Three days of early, in-person voting started Thursday.

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