Rep. Meijer slams Michigan Democrats for backing far-right opponent in risky ad buy

The Grand Rapids Republican called the scheme ‘political jiu-jitsu’

U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer, left, and his Republican challenger John Gibbs. - Twitter
U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer, left, and his Republican challenger John Gibbs.

U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer blasted Democrats for running ads in support of his far-right opponent, calling the risky scheme an immoral display of “political jiu-jitsu.”

In an op-ed in Common Sense, a newsletter by commentator Bari Weiss, the Grand Rapids Republican said he’s locked in a close primary race with John Gibbs and that the $435,000 ad buy to promote his opponent could cost Meijer the election.

Meijer pointed out that Gibbs is everything the Democrats despise: He spreads lies about widespread election fraud, baselessly “accused the Obama administration of taking part in bizarre Satanic rituals,” and called Democrats the party of “Islam, gender-bending, anti-police, ‘u-racist!”

“So you would think that the Democrats would look at John Gibbs and see the embodiment of what they say they most fear,” Meijer wrote. “That as patriots they would use every tool at their disposal to defeat him and similar candidates that they’ve said are an existential threat.”

Meijer broke with the Republican Party establishment to vote in favor of impeaching Donald Trump for his role in inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, and he frequently spoke out against conspiracy theories that Joe Biden lost the election.

Meijer's district in the Grand Rapids area was once solidly Republican, but Trump lost the district in the 2020 election. The newly drawn district is even more Democratic than the previous one.

Noting that the $435,000 ad buy outstripped what Gibbs raised for his campaign, Meijer said Democrats are hypocrites who are playing a dangerous game.

“The only thing that has been more nauseating has been the capacity of my Democratic colleagues to sell out any pretense of principle for political expediency — at once decrying the downfall of democracy while rationalizing the use of their hard-raised dollars to prop up the supposed object of their fears,” Meijer wrote.

The idea behind the ad buy is to boost a candidate who is unlikely to prevail in the general election against Democrat Hillary Scholten. The assumption is that general-election voters won’t support candidates who push baseless conspiracy theories about election fraud.

“Conventional wisdom dictates that these extreme candidates are less electable than the normal Republicans Democrats targeted to defeat,” Meijer wrote. “But with a historically unpopular president in Joe Biden and inflation at 40-year highs, less-electable doesn’t mean un-electable. As the January 6 Select Committee continues to warn about the ongoing threat to democracy, their own party dues are paying to help elect the same villains they rail against.”

This is not the first time Democrats have meddled in Republican primary races this year by promoting far right, pro-Trump candidates. The ads have boosted far right candidates over moderate Republicans in races in California, Colorado, and Pennsylvania.

Democrats aren't the only ones who interfere in primary races. A pro-Israel group backed by GOP mega donors is spending big money on ad buys for two centrist Democrats in the congressional primary election, in an attempt to defeat incumbent progressives U.S.Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Andy Levin.

The primary election is Tuesday.

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About The Author

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
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