A Trump critic was forced from office in the Michigan GOP primary, a success for Trump's efforts to purge the party

A Trump critic was forced from office in the Michigan GOP primary, a success for Trump's efforts to purge the party
Rep. Peter Meijer at an event in Washington, DC, in August 2021.Scott J. Applewhite/AP
  • Rep. Peter Meijer lost the Republican Party primary for Michigan's 3rd district.
  • Meijer voted to impeach Trump, and was beaten by a Trump-backed challenger.

Rep. Peter Meijer, a longtime critic of former President Donald Trump, lost his primary election on Wednesday to a Trump-backed challenger.

His defeat represents a victory for Trump's long campaign to purge the Republican Party of his critics.

Meijer's opponent in the race, John Gibbs, was projected the GOP primary winner in Michigan's 3rd congressional district by Insider's election partner Decision Desk HQ early on Wednesday.

(For more detailed results from Meijer's election and other Michigan primaries, click here for Insider's live results page.)

Meijer was one of 10 Republicans who enraged Trump by voting to impeach him over the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot.


His loss makes him the second Republican lawmaker to lose their job after taking a stand against the former president.

Trump has endorsed primary challengers to several of his Republican opponents as he seeks to reshape the party.

Gibbs served under former HUD secretary Ben Carson as a software engineer, and has pushed Trump's false claims that the 2020 election was stolen by fraud.

Meijer in a statement early Wednesday announced he was conceding to Gibbs, but said he would continue to support the GOP.

"A Constitutional Republic like ours requires leaders who are willing to take on the big challenges, to find common ground when possible, and to put their love of country before partisan advantage," Meijer said.


"Though this was not the outcome we hoped for, I will continue to do everything possible to move the Republican Party, West Michigan, and our country in a positive direction."

Meijer was elected to the seat in 2020, and the impeachment vote was one of his first major acts as a member of Congress.

Back in the spring of 2021, Meijer told Insider that he was not worried about the political consequences of his vote.

"There's probably a certain freedom to knowing that if I am voted out of office, life probably becomes a lot easier rather than harder," he told reporter Adam Wren for a deep-dive profile that examined the fallout for the scion of an uberwealthy Michigan family known for its regional supermarket chain.

"I think for many, this is the most salary and the highest prestige they'll ever receive," Meijer added at the time. "If you give me two paths, and one has a very expected predictable outcome and the other just kind of says, 'there be dragons,' I'm probably going to choose that one."


Meijer later criticized the Democratic Party for paying for ads backing Gibbs as part of its controversial strategy to aid the campaigns of extreme candidates which some strategists believe will be easier to defeat in the November midterms.

Of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in 2021, four have stepped down, and two have been defeated by Trump-backed challengers. Before Meijer, Rep. Tom Rice lost the primary for his seat in South Carolina.

Tuesday's vote was the most significant test of the political futures of the House Republicans who backed Trump's impeachment, with three on the ballot, including Meijer.

The primaries for the seats of pro-impeachment Washington state Reps Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse had not been called as of around 6.30 a.m. ET.

The primary for the Wyoming seat of Rep. Liz Cheney, a Jan. 6 committee member, is due later in August. Rep. David Valadao won his primary in California against a Trump-endorsed challenger in June.


Gibbs is due to face Democratic nominee Hillary Scholten in November's election.