House Democrats’ campaign arm is running a TV ad that could undermine Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Mich., in his competitive primary next week against Trump-backed opponent John Gibbs.
The Congressional Democratic Campaign Committee launched the 30 Second Adwhich bolsters Gibbs’ ties to former President Donald Trump by attacking him — which Meijer’s campaign says was an attempt by Democrats to increase their chances of winning the district in the fall.
Emily Taylor, his spokeswoman, said in a statement that the ad was “clear evidence” House Democrats fear Meijer.
“Democrats do not want to run against Peter Meijer in the November election because Peter is the best candidate to represent West Michigan in Congress and he is the only candidate who puts the interests of the 3rd Circuit ahead of party priorities said Taylor. “We’re confident that voters will see through Democrats’ political games as Peter continues to focus on the issues that matter most to the people he represents.”
Gibbs, a former Trump administration official who has secured the support of his former boss, is “too conservative” for western Michigan, the ad says, citing his work for Trump’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson .
The ad claims that Gibbs was “handpicked by Trump to run” and claims he promised to implement the former president’s conservative agenda in Congress, including a tough stance on immigration and support for “patriotic education.”
While the ad is presented as an attack on Gibbs for his ties to Trump, GOP primary voters may be motivated to vote for him for that reason. Meijer, his opponent in the first term, was one of only 10 Republicans in the House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump after the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.
Not all Democrats support the campaign committee’s strategy.
Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., expressed his opposition in strong terms tweet Tuesday afternoon.
“I am disgusted that hard-earned money intended to support Democrats is being used to promote Trump-backed candidates, particularly the far-right opponent of one of the most honorable Republicans in Congress,” Phillips wrote, referring to Meijer. “Another reason to reform our broken campaign finance system.”
Phillips and Meijer are members of the Bipartisan Caucus the problem solver.
When asked about criticism of the ad, New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who chairs the campaign committee, denied there was any lift to Gibbs.
“Well, the ad criticizes the far-right candidate. So I don’t think it’s inconsistent with our larger goals,” Maloney said. “Obviously our focus is on winning 218 seats and each race requires a slightly different strategy. We think that makes sense in this case.”
The ad is the latest attempt to covertly bolster certain Republicans by meddling in GOP primaries, with Democrats hoping these candidates will be easier to defeat in the general election. One example is the party’s efforts to push state senator Doug Mastriano into the Republican primary for Pennsylvania governor. Mastriano, who stood in front of the Capitol on Jan. 6, won the nomination and is behind Democratic candidate Josh Shapiro, the attorney general, in recent polls.
Some progressives argue that this is a risky strategy — and one in tension with the Democrats’ message that Trump’s movement poses a threat to American democracy.
Michigan gave President Joe Biden a narrow victory over Trump in 2020 and has been a prime target for election deniers. At a GOP primary debate this month, top contenders for governor declared their allegiance to Trump while promoting his stolen election falsehoods.
Matt Gorman, a former communications director for the Republican campaign arm of the House of Representatives, said the ad “speaks how desperate the Dems are” in their bid to retain control of the House this fall.
“It’s not a strategy you follow when you’re convinced you can beat the other person in a general election,” Gorman said.
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/elections/dems-boost-trump-backed-house-candidate-primary-gop-rep-voted-impeachm-rcna40052 Democrats are backing the Trump-backed House nominee in the primary against the GOP representative who voted to impeach