David Axelrod slams House Democrats' campaign arm for boosting a right-wing primary challenger running against a Republican who voted to impeach Trump
- David Axelrod admonished Democrats for boosting a primary challenger to Rep. Peter Meijer.
- Meijer, one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, is facing a Trump-backed challenger.
David Axelrod, a Democratic strategist and former top adviser to President Barack Obama, admonished the House Democrats' campaign arm for boosting a right-wing primary challenger to a Republican House member who voted to impeach President Donald Trump.
"Republican @RepMeijer placed his young political career at risk by voting to impeach Trump," Axelrod tweeted on Monday, referring to Rep. Peter Meijer of Michigan. "Disappointing that Ds are trying to help Trump exact vengeance."
—David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) July 26, 2022
Meijer, elected to office in 2020 from western Michigan, was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for inciting the January 6, 2021, insurrection on the Capitol and is now facing a primary challenger in Michigan's August 2 primaries.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is spending $425,000 to air a television ad in the Grand Rapids market that describes John Gibbs, Meijer's right-wing primary challenger, as "too conservative for West Michigan" and "hand-picked by Trump" in a thinly-veiled appeal to GOP primary voters, Axios and The New York Times reported.
Gibbs, a former software developer and official in the Department of Housing and Urban Development under Trump, has been endorsed by Trump and has embraced Trump's lies that the 2020 election was stolen by massive fraud, falsely calling Trump's loss "mathematically impossible."
Democrats' spending to boost Gibbs is part of a larger pattern 0f Democratic meddling in 2022 Republican primaries. Democrats have dropped millions so far boosting far-right candidates and some election deniers in Senate and House primaries in Colorado and California and governor's races in Illinois, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.
"The DCCC boosting John Gibbs is clear evidence of who Nancy Pelosi prefers in this race," Meijer representative Emily Taylor told Axios. "Democrats don't want to face Peter Meijer in the November election because Peter is the best candidate to represent West Michigan in Congress."
A political party spending to boost the candidate they see as less electable in a general election is nothing new, and in some cases, farther-right candidates would have likely won with or without interference from the other party. But propping up far-right candidates could be especially dangerous and risky in a year where the political climate favors Republicans, especially in the House.
Some have also pointed out the seeming inconsistency between Democrats decrying election denial and conspiracies as an existential threat to democracy while boosting Republicans who embrace those very theories in what is expected to be an amicable midterm election year for the GOP.
Out of those 10, just one, Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina, has lost their primary challenge to a Trump-backed opponent. Rep. David Valadao of California advanced to the general election in the state's top-two primary, boxing out a far-right candidate who Democrats also spent money boosting.
Four pro-impeachment Republicans are retiring, and another four — including Meijer — have their primaries in August.
Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse are facing Trump-backed primary challengers in Washington state, also on August 2. And Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the House Select Committee investigating January 6, is running against Trump-endorsed challenger Harriet Hageman in Wyoming's August 16 primary.
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