Democratic leaders are worried that incumbent Rep. Peter Meijer is the strongest candidate to face the Democratic challenger in the fall.
Meet Peter Meijer. The first-term congressman from West Michigan is a Republican whom even Democrats should applaud.
So it’s weird what they’re doing in his primary race. More on that shortly.
I’ve known Meijer for several years, and the millennial U.S. Army veteran has proved himself an independent thinker who is committed to serving his country – not just his party.
Why Meijer earned my respect
►A few days into his first term, Meijer witnessed Jan. 6, 2021, firsthand and was horrified by what he saw. He immediately called out his GOP colleagues who had refused to acknowledge the election results. “This should be a moment of reckoning for the country as a whole, and the conservative movement in particular,” he wrote shortly after the riot.
►Meijer was one of only 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump last year, in light of Trump’s actions ahead of the Jan. 6 Capitol breach.
►He recently voted in support of the Respect for Marriage Act (one of 47 Republicans to do so), after some believed gay marriage protections could be at risk following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. And then Meijer articulately defended the reasoning for his vote.
Democrats try to sabotage his race
So why in the world are national Democrats meddling in this Republican’s primary race?
They’re obviously worried that he’s the strongest candidate to face the Democratic challenger in the fall. Yet Democrats are playing a dangerous – and very hypocritical – game to achieve the party’s ends.
In the last week before Michigan’s Tuesday primary, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is spending about $425,000 on a TV ad about Meijer’s opponent, John Gibbs, the far-right, Trump-endorsed candidate.
It’s a fake attack ad, making sure to use all the code words that will resonate with Trump supporters in the district, such as “too conservative,” “handpicked” by Trump and “patriotic education.” It also highlights Gibbs’ service in the Trump administration.
It’s a nice boost for Gibbs’ campaign, as up until this point he hasn’t had the cash on hand to run his own TV ads.
This isn’t the first time Democrats have tried to swing elections for the Trump candidate in other primaries. After months of Jan. 6 committee hearings painting Trump and his supporters as rioting, insurrectionist rubes, ads like this belie Democrats’ pure motives.
Meijer sums it up best: “I’m sick and tired of hearing the sanctimonious bull—- about the Democrats being the pro-democracy party,” he told Politico.
Ingrid Jacques is a columnist at USA TODAY. Contact her at email@example.com or on Twitter: @Ingrid_Jacques