Freedom Caucus votes to remove Davidson after he endorsed Good challenger

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The hardline conservative House Freedom Caucus voted to remove Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) from its ranks Monday night after the Ohio Republican endorsed the primary challenger to the group’s chairman, Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.).

A member of the group and a source familiar with the matter told The Hill that the conservative coalition voted 16-13 to boot Davidson from the group during their closed-door meeting. The caucus is comprised of roughly three dozen hardline Republicans.

Davidson told reporters “I have no comments on this subject” when asked about his ouster after the huddle.

Davidson drew the ire of several conservatives when he endorsed John McGuire, Good’s challenger in the GOP primary for Virginia’s 5th Congressional District, an extraordinary move for a Freedom Caucus member to take against a colleague in the group. McGuire won the race by 0.6 percentage points, but Good has vowed to force a recount.

Monday night’s vote had immediate repercussions within the Freedom Caucus. Shortly after the meeting broke, Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas) announced that he would resign from the group because of Davidson’s ouster.

“I respect the HFC and have been aligned with their conservative positions. I want to grow the organization and encourage more members to join. With tonight’s vote it was clear that is not their objective. I value what the HFC brings to the table and I can assure them I will continue to support their conservative agenda I just won’t be a member,” Davidson told The Hill in a statement.

A second source familiar told The Hill that Nehls has rarely attended meetings in the past year.

Reached for comment on Monday night’s membership news, a Freedom Caucus spokesperson said “HFC does not comment on membership or internal processes.”

Davidson’s ouster from the group came nearly two weeks after members of the caucus voted to open a review into the Ohio Republican’s standing in the group following his endorsement of McGuire.

Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) made a motion for the Freedom Caucus board to determine whether Davidson is a member in good standing, which the group voted to send to the board.

The board ultimately determined that Davidson was not a member in good standing, one of the sources familiar with the matter told The Hill, which lowered the threshold for removal from 80 percent to a simple majority.

Davidson’s removal from the Freedom Caucus puts a bookend on his at-times contentious relationship with the group.

In December, the Ohio Republican announced that he would not seek re-election to the Freedom Caucus board after it recommended that Good serve as the next chairman of the group. In a letter to colleagues at the time, Davidson wrote “I ask that you prayerfully consider electing someone else as Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus.”

“I ask that we consider how to best increase our influence while preserving our power to move policy in the right direction. I strongly feel that Bob Good as Chairman will impair that objective,” he added, according to Axios.

Davidson is the third member to be ousted from the Freedom Caucus this Congress. The group booted Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) from its ranks last summer after she grew close to GOP leadership, and it voted to remove former Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) days before his resignation from Congress.

A Freedom Caucus member who requested anonymity to discuss the internal move told The Hill at the time that Buck had not been a member in “good standing,” had not regularly attended meetings of the group “in months,” “hasn’t been with conservatives on several major issues” and “is leaving the conference hanging with a historically narrow margin.”

Emily Brooks contributed.

Story was updated at 11:08 p.m. EDT

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