OAKLAND — The California Republican Party pulled its endorsement of embattled Republican House candidate Ted Howze on Thursday over inflammatory and bigoted social media posts.
The unanimous decision came after POLITICO revealed social media posts from Howze’s personal accounts that derided Muslims, disseminated conspiracy theories and insinuated that Democratic elected officials were guilty of murder.
“Mr. Howze’s social media posts recently revealed through news reports are disgraceful, disgusting and do not represent the values we hold or the Party we are building,” California Republican Party Chair Jessica Millan Patterson said in a statement.
The formal renunciation follows moves from Republican leaders to distance themselves from Howze and underscores the risk that a growing scandal could torpedo the party’s chances to claw back a seat they lost in 2018.
Howze has repeatedly denied he wrote the posts in question, including Thursday when he dismissed accusations as “Brett Kavanaugh style attacks.”
“The maliciously false attacks on our campaign based [on] old social media posts being attributed to me are Fake News. They do not resemble anything close to my personal words or actions exhibited during my decades-long record of service in the Central Valley,” Howze said in a statement, saying he was “under attack by national Democrats.”
But Republican party figures began to move away from Howze this week after POLITICO reported on a second batch of posts. U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and National Republican Congressional Committee Chair Tom Emmer of Minnesota reproached the posts publicly, and the NRCC rescinded Howze’s inclusion on a slate of promising candidates.
Rep. Josh Harder claimed California’s 10th congressional district in 2018, defeating GOP then-Rep. Jeff Denham to help Democrats complete a sweep of competitive Republican seats.
The district, anchored in California’s agricultural Central Valley, is one of seven red-to-blue California seats that figure prominently in the national struggle over control of the House. But the controversy enshrouding Howze could narrow that path.