Democrats Help Election Denier Beat Meijer, Then Hear About It

Kinzinger points out party asks where the Republicans defending democracy are
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2022 7:35 PM CDT
Democratic Party, and Trump, Celebrate Election Denier's Win
John Gibbs talks to the media as Michigan primary election results roll in during his watch party at Re/Max of Grand Rapids on Tuesday night.   (Joel Bissell/The Grand Rapids Press via AP)

Voters in western Michigan have made their decision, but GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger said the Democratic Party owns it. Rep. Peter Meijer, who voted to impeach then-President Donald Trump after the attack on the Capitol, will be leaving Congress after losing his GOP primary Tuesday to a challenger who says the 2020 presidential election was stolen. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) had spent money—almost $500,000—to promote John Gibbs, who was endorsed by Trump. The Democrats' thinking: Gibbs would be the more beatable opponent to face on the November ballot. That strategy brought criticism as soon as Meijer lost, the Hill reports, including Kinzinger's scathing assessment.

"Here's the thing," Kinzinger said Wednesday on CNN. "Don't keep coming to me asking where are all the good Republicans that defend democracy and then take your donors' money and spend half-a-million dollars promoting one of the worst election deniers that's out there." The DCCC should be ashamed, he said. Democrats have done something similar elsewhere, including Illinois and Maryland, for the governor's race. The DCCC celebrated its success on Wednesday, with a spokesperson saying Gibbs' primary victory "seals the fate of Republicans hoping to keep this now Democratic-leaning district."

A few Democratic strategists defended the party and its motivation. One said, "Meijer would have helped" Rep. Kevin McCarthy become House speaker, and another: "The job here is to win the seat. The job here is to deny Kevin McCarthy the speakership." Meijer discussed his disappointment in an online essay, writing, "You would think that the Democrats would look at John Gibbs and see the embodiment of what they say they most fear." A Democratic colleague lamented the incumbent's loss. "What we need in our public officials is courage, a commitment to service over politics, and loyalty to country over party bosses," said Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton. "Peter Meijer lives those values." (More GOP primaries stories.)

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