Because of a primary challenge backed by former President Donald Trump, Rep. Peter Meijer (R), who voted to question Trump in 2021, is facing a contentious fight for the GOP nomination in Michigan’s third Congressional District.
But Meijer told HuffPost in a phone interview on Tuesday that he has ruled out any sort of campaign to hunt the seat independently if he loses to Gibbs within the Aug. 2 primary.
“My mentality is either ‘with my shield or on it,’” said Meijer, referencing a maxim ascribed to ancient Sparta encouraging warriors to return from the battlefield either victorious or dead.
“I’m a Republican. The Republican Party is where I feel my values are best represented at this moment,” he added. “The Republican Party has been my home since I began my highschool’s Young Republicans club through the first term of George W. Bush’s administration.”
Even when Meijer, a military veteran and former risk analyst, desired to run as an independent in the final election, the deadline to acquire a spot on the ballot for those purposes has passed. If Meijer selected to run a write-in campaign, nonetheless, he would have until the second-to-last Friday before the final election to notify the state of his plans.
There’s precedent for a west Michigan Republican abandoning the party over the problem of loyalty to Trump. Meijer’s predecessor within the House, Justin Amash, left the GOP and have become an independent in July 2019, citing the party’s allegiance to Trump, whom Amash considered corrupt and authoritarian.
Meijer initially ran against Amash on the grounds that Amash’s independence had grow to be an obstacle to delivering for the district. But Amash announced in July 2020 that he would retire slightly than seek reelection.
HuffPost followed up with Meijer’s campaign on Tuesday to see if he would commit to endorsing the Republican nominee in his district if he falls short against Gibbs. A spokesperson said only that they’d “expect” him to achieve this.
When asked the identical query on Tuesday, Gibbs, a pc scientist and former Trump administration official, declined to entertain a scenario by which he loses to Meijer.
Republican congressional candidate John Gibbs outside his campaign headquarters in Byron Center, Michigan, on Monday. Gibbs has Trump’s endorsement for the third Congressional District race.
Brittany Greeson for HuffPost
“Thankfully it won’t come to that. There’s never been a single poll showing Meijer within the lead; all have shown strong leads for us,” Gibbs said in a press release. “That is testament to the labor myself and my team have put in, which can result in a powerful Gibbs victory next Tuesday.”
The Gibbs campaign released an internal poll earlier this month showing him leading Meijer by 18 percentage points.
If Gibbs prevails against Meijer, though, he is anticipated to have a tricky general-election fight on his hands. Nonpartisan redistricting made the electorate in Michigan’s third District more Democratic than it was through the 2020 election cycle. President Joe Biden would have won in the brand new seat by nearly 9 percentage points.
Many Democrats are openly pleased concerning the prospect of Gibbs defeating Meijer, since they see the more right-wing Gibbs as the simpler candidate to defeat in November. An internal poll released in June by Democratic nominee Hillary Scholten, an immigration attorney, showed Scholten leading Meijer by 2 percentage points in a hypothetical general-election matchup but running ahead of Gibbs by 9 points.
“We’ve such a powerful path to victory either way,” Scholten told HuffPost at her campaign office in Grand Rapids on Monday.
The national Democratic Party is just not waiting to let events play out on their very own, nonetheless. With the goal of facilitating a Scholten-Gibbs matchup, House Democrats’ campaign arm, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, is spending $425,000 on a TV ad designed to spice up Gibbs by highlighting his pro-Trump credentials.
Meijer could be the “underdog” against Gibbs no matter Democrats’ involvement, in keeping with Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report.
Hillary Scholten will probably be running as a Democrat against either John Gibbs or Rep. Peter Meijer following the Aug. 2 Michigan primary.
Brittany Greeson for HuffPost
In an interview outside of his campaign office in Byron Center, Michigan, on Monday, Gibbs rejected the concept that his win in the first would jeopardize Republican control of the seat.
Meijer “cannot win the final [election] because too many Republicans are upset with him over his impeachment vote,” Gibbs said. “They simply is not going to vote for him in November. So he’s absolutely unelectable in the final election.”
Meijer and his team maintain that Democrats are correct to see Gibbs because the weaker general-election candidate.
Meijer called Gibbs’ argument that Republicans would slightly stay home than vote for him a “galaxy-brain take that’s divorced from reality.”
“There isn’t a demonstrated electoral history to back it up,” he said.
Meijer also expressed dismay with Democrats’ decision to attempt to prop Gibbs up.
“Simply because I’m not surprised doesn’t mean that it’s not galling ― the staggering hypocrisy of all of it, the malevolent cynicism that it represents,” Meijer said. “What do you expect out of a celebration that’s led by any person who’s as craven a political actor as [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi? It’s just par for the Democratic course.”
Some Democrats agree with Meijer that the Democratic Party mustn’t be holding up Trump and his fellow election deniers as a novel authoritarian threat and at the identical time seek to raise pro-Trump candidates in GOP primaries within the hopes that they’re easier to defeat in November.
“I’m disgusted that hard-earned money intended to support Democrats is getting used to spice up Trump-endorsed candidates, particularly the far-right opponent of probably the most honorable Republicans in Congress, [Rep. Meijer],” tweeted Rep. Dean Phillips, a Minnesota Democrat.