Jan. 6-linked candidates are outperforming expectations
Across the country, candidates who were at the Capitol on Jan. 6 are running for office — and, in some cases, finding shocking success.
Driving the news: Ryan Kelley, a leading Republican candidate for Michigan governor, was arrested by the FBI last week on misdemeanor charges related to the Capitol riot, including engaging in violence on restricted grounds.
Why it matters: Rather than struggling due to their association with the violent assault, a number of the candidates are winning their primaries and even being embraced by the GOP establishment.
- Several are in highly competitive races, including Ohio House candidate J.R. Majewski and Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano.
- On Tuesday, Majewski received House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s blessing: He was added to the House GOP’s “Young Guns” program, which entitles candidates who meet certain organizing thresholds to party support.
By the numbers: At least 14 people who were present at the Capitol, with varying degrees of involvement in the riot, have run for federal or statewide office this year.
- Four have already won their primaries.
- Several others are well-positioned to win, including Trump-endorsed candidates for U.S. House in Wisconsin and Arizona secretary of state.
Even candidates who lost their respective races finished with surprisingly strong results.
- Kathy Barnette sent the GOP into a panic with a late-stage surge in the GOP Senate primary in Pennsylvania despite meager fundraising, eventually finishing third behind two self-funded candidates.
- Former Pennsylvania state Rep. Rick Saccone and veteran Teddy Daniels finished second and third in a crowded primary for lieutenant governor.
- On Tuesday, attorney and former boxer Joey Gilbert finished second in the primary for Nevada governor, behind Trump-endorsed Sheriff Joe Lombardo but ahead of former Sen. Dean Heller.
What we're watching: Some candidates are beginning to view their connections to Jan. 6 as a political asset, rather than a scandal.
- The day after his arrest, Kelley’s campaign sent out a fundraising email with the subject line, "The FBI came to arrest me." In the email, Kelley labeled himself a "political prisoner" and requested donations to "help me fight back."