Democrats Split Over Offer to Boost Election Denier in Michigan GOP Primary

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Some Democrats in Washington are publicly furious over the party’s decision to boost a Republican congressional candidate in Michigan who questioned the outcome of the 2020 election.

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The clamor escalated after Axios reported that Democrats plan to spend $425,000 to run an ad before the Michigan primary, highlighting the conservative bona fides of John Gibbs, who is challenging incumbent Republican Peter Meijer.

In his first term in Congress, Meijer was one of 10 House Republicans to support Trump’s impeachment after the January 6 attack.

the 30 second ad it’s styled like a Gibbs-bashing ad, but has dog whistle themes designed to appeal to Republican voters.

He says Gibbs is “too conservative” for West Michigan and was “handpicked by Trump.” He also highlights how he will push conservative policies in Congress, including a “tough line on immigrants at the border” and “patriotic education in our schools.”

The race in Michigan’s 3rd congressional district is expected to be one of the few highly competitive contests this fall. Democrats are betting that Gibbs, who is endorsed by Donald Trump and worked in his administration, will be an easier candidate to beat.

But some worry the strategy could backfire and say it’s hypocritical for the party to meddle in a primary to defeat a Republican who had a tough vote to hold Trump accountable.

“No race is worth compromising their values ​​in that way,” Stephanie Murphy, a Florida Democrat who is part of the panel investigating the Jan. 6 attack. he told the politician.

“I want to win these races, but I am worried,” Pramila Jayapal of Washington state, a leading progressive, told the same outlet. “I really care about promoting election deniers and this idea that we’re going to be able to control what voters want at the end of the day.”

David Axelrod, a former senior adviser to Barack Obama, said it was “disappointing” that Democrats were helping Trump seek revenge on a congressman who courageously voted to impeach him.

Michigan isn’t the only place where Democrats have weighed in on a Republican primary. In Maryland, the Democratic Governors Association spent more than $1.1 million on ads to boost Dan Cox, the winner of the Republican primary for governor, according to the New York Times. Helmsman charter buses to Washington on January 6 and attended a QAnon convention.

In Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, posted an ad ahead of the Republican primary by boosting Doug Mastriano, a fringe lawmaker who was one of Trump’s closest allies in efforts to overturn the election. Mastriano won the nomination. If elected, he would appoint Pennsylvania’s top election official.

Sean Patrick Maloney, a New York congressman who heads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the group responsible for choosing House Democrats, did not dispute that there were cases where the party might try to design a more powerful opponent. favorable.

“We have a high bar for that,” he said. MSNBC. “I think if you’re going to do that, you really need to understand what you’re doing. If you’re talking about trying to pick your opponent, you might see us do that for sure.”

Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat on the Jan. 6 caucus, said there were nuances in considering whether to boost election deniers.

While he said he understood the argument that it was “categorically wrong” to push for election deniers, he also explained why it was appropriate to intervene.

“In the real world of politics, you can also see an argument that if the pro-insurgency, election-denier wing of the Republican caucus is already dominant, then it might be worth taking a small risk that another one of those people would be elected. , in exchange for dramatically increasing the chances that Democrats can hold the House against a pro-insurgency Republican majority that denies the election,” told Axios.

But Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Raskin’s Republican colleague on the Jan. 6 panel who also supported impeaching Trump for the Capitol attack, said efforts to galvanize election deniers were “disgusting.”

“You are going to make the deniers of the elections win”, he told CNN. “While I think a certain number of Democrats really do understand that democracy is under threat, don’t come to me after you’ve spent money supporting an election denier in a primary and then come to me and say, ‘Where are all the good guys? Republicans?’ ”

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