John Gibbs, an official in former President Donald Trump’s administration, has ousted incumbent GOP Rep. Peter Meijer in a primary — the first election since Meijer voted to impeach Trump last year.
Meijer, a freshman, voted to charge the then-president over his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol in one of his first acts as a member of Congress in 2021. Gibbs worked in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under then-Secretary Ben Carson and has parroted Trump’s conspiracy theories about the 2020 election results.
Meijer released a statement early Wednesday morning announcing he had conceded to Gibbs.
Meijer is the second Republican who voted to impeach Trump to lose a primary this year after Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.). Another four out of the group of 10 retired rather than run for reelection, and one — Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.) — advanced to the general election out of an all-party primary in June. Meanwhile, GOP Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse of Washington State are currently locked in tight primaries, and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) faces primary voters on Aug. 16.
Democrats have closely followed Meijer’s race in Michigan, as the 3rd District transformed in redistricting from a narrowly pro-Trump seat in the 2020 election to one that President Joe Biden would have carried by 9 points, according to POLITICO’s redistricting tracker.
The party believes that nominee Hillary Scholten can flip the district in November — but to tilt the scales more in Democrats’ favor, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee aired ads elevating Gibbs, in the hopes that a far-right candidate would be easier to defeat in the general election.
In the waning days of the race, the DCCC spent $425,000 on an ad buy reminding Republican voters that Gibbs was endorsed by Trump. But the move met with backlash from some of House Democrats’ own members, who decried the strategy to boost Gibbs — an election conspiracy theorist — as risky and ill-conceived.