Aug 3, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Trump-backed John Gibbs defeats incumbent Meijer in Michigan primary

John Gibbs
John Gibbs, a software engineer and former Trump administration employee. Photo courtesy of John Gibbs for Congress.

John Gibbs, a Trump-endorsed political newcomer, defeated incumbent Peter Meijer for Michigan's redrawn 3rd Congressional District, AP reports.

Driving the news: Gibbs is the latest pro-Trump candidate to oust one of the former president's few remaining GOP critics.

  • Meijer, a freshman congressman who replaced Justin Amash was one of 10 Republicans to vote to impeach Trump in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. He acknowledged that it may have been "political suicide."

Why it matters: Gibbs' victory signals Republican voter's continued allegiance to the former president.

  • A Black software engineer who worked on housing issues for the former president’s staff under HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Gibbs received Trump’s backing earlier this year.
  • Gibbs is an election denier who has falsely called the results "mathematically impossible" even though there is no evidence of widespread fraud.

Between the lines: Gibbs, who's publicly floated a number of outlandish right-wing conspiracy theories, brings potential general election liability for the more competitive district that hasn't seen Democratic representation since 1976.

  • The West Michigan primary was one of several in which Democrats meddled on behalf of far-right candidates believing Gibbs to be a more beatable opponent in November, prompting an outcry.

Context: The new congressional map made the district significantly more competitive, and Hillary Scholten, the Democratic challenger, lost to Meijer by just six points in 2020.

Go deeper: Trump endorsement tracker: Which candidates have won and lost

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