In the final days of Rep. Peter Meijer’s close fight for his party’s nomination, the Michigan Republican and his allies are slamming Democrats for meddling in Tuesday’s GOP primary.
An outside group supporting Meijer – one of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump – launched a new ad over the weekend criticizing the Democratic establishment for helping the freshman congressman’s Trump-backed opponent.
“Fox News confirms it: Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to elect their hand-picked candidate for Congress in the Republican primary, John Gibbs,” the ad warns. “West Michigan must say no to Nancy Pelosi’s handpicked candidate for Congress.”
And in a Monday morning post for the Common Sense Substack, Meijer rails against the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as well as some of his Democratic colleagues – including some who sit on the House select committee investigating the events surrounding January 6, 2021 – for defending the House Democrats’ political arm.
“The Democrats are justifying this political jiu-jitsu by making the argument that politics is a tough business. I don’t disagree. But that toughness is bound by certain moral limits: Those who participated in the attack on the Capitol, for example, clearly fall outside those limits,” Meijer writes. “But over the course of the midterms, Democrats seem to have forgotten just where those limits lie.”
Among the House Democrats Meijer calls out by name are Reps. Jamie Raskin and Elaine Luria, both of whom sit on the select committee. Both members, Meijer writes, have “rationalized” the DCCC’s investment.
The pro-Meijer group, Principled Leadership for Michigan, has spent just over $1 million on ads ahead of the high-profile primary contest. Much of the group’s budget appears to come from Meijer family members, according to FEC filings.
Overall, nearly $3 million has been spent on ads in the House primary, with Meijer and Gibbs locked in a close race for the nomination in the Western Michigan seat.
Gibbs, a former Trump appointee at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, has embraced Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen. The former President endorsed Gibbs but has done relatively little to support his preferred candidate financially.
The DCCC, on the other hand, has spent more than $300,000 on ads that lightly criticize Gibbs and highlight his endorsement from Trump. The signal boost for Gibbs is an attempt by Democrats to give the party a more favorable general election matchup.
And it’s just the latest in a string of primaries where Democratic groups have spent millions boosting far-right candidates in competitive GOP primaries.
Not all Democrats are thrilled with the strategy.
“I believe Democrats should focus on helping Democrats win,” Rebecca Katz, a longtime Democratic strategist who is now advising John Fetterman’s Senate campaign in Pennsylvania, told CNN last week. “In this year of all years, why make that gamble in a Republican primary? It just seems like their priorities are out of whack.”
In his Substack post, Meijer writes that the gambit in his district undermines the “moral high ground” Democrats have taken.
“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,” Meijer writes.