Jun 15, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Jan. 6-linked candidates are outperforming expectations

Candidates for state and federal office present at the Capitol on Jan. 6
Data: Axios research; Table: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

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.

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.

Even candidates who lost their respective races finished with surprisingly strong results.

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."
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