House Democratic group meddles in Michigan Republican congressional primary

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee becomes the latest Democrat group to meddle in a GOP primary

The House Democrats’ re-election arm is targeting GOP Rep. Peter Meijer of Michigan – one of the ten House Republicans who voted to impeach then-President Donald Trump over the Jan. 6, 2021 storming of the U.S. Capitol – by pumping up the Trump-backed candidate challenging Meijer in next week’s GOP congressional primary.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Monday told Fox News that it’s spending $425,000 to run an ad in the Grand Rapids, Michigan media market that spotlights John Gibbs support for Trump and his conservative agenda. 

"John Gibbs is too conservative for West Michigan. Handpicked by Trump to run for Congress, Gibbs called Trump ‘the greatest president,’ and worked in Trump’s administration with Ben Carson," the narrator in the DCCC spot says. "Gibbs has promised to push that same conservative agenda in Congress. A hard line against immigrants at the border and so-called ‘patriotic’ education in our schools. The Gibbs/Trump agenda is too conservative for West Michigan."

Meijer, an Iraq War veteran who was elected to Congress in 2020, has been targeted by Trump over his impeachment vote. And the former president endorsed Gibbs, a former software developer who served in the Trump administration as an acting assistant secretary in the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Gibbs is also a supporter of Trump’s repeated unproven claims that the 2020 presidential election was "rigged" due to "massive voter fraud." 

AFTER TRUMP-BACKED CANDIDATE VICTORIES, SOME DEMOCRATS QUESTION PARTY'S MEDDLING IN GOP PRIMARIES

Meijer represents Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District, on the western side of the state’s lower peninsula, which the DCCC views as a competitive seat in November’s midterm elections. The latest Fox News Power Rankings rate the district as Lean Republican. House Democrats are hoping to hold onto their razor-thin majority in the chamber in the midterms and they see Gibbs as a weaker general election candidate than Meijer.

The move by the DCCC is the latest example of Democratic groups meddling in GOP primaries this year, by supporting Trump-endorsed candidates.

TRUMP, DEMOCRATS, BOTH BIG WINNERS IN MARYLAND'S GOP GUBERNATORIAL PRIMARY

The Democratic Governors Association, the top organization helping Democratic candidates in gubernatorial races, spent nearly $2 million to run ads this month boosting Maryland state delegate Dan Cox, which arguably helped the Trumped-back candidate handily defeat the more establishment conservative contender who was endorsed by term-limited GOP Gov. Larry Hogan. Democrats viewed Cox, a conservative lawmaker who also supports Trump’s constant re-litigating of the 2020 election, and who takes a hard line in opposing abortion, as a weaker candidate than Schulz in the general election as they aim to flip the governor’s office from red to blue.

In this Oct. 14, 2020 file photo, now-GOP Rep. Peter Meijer (MI-03) speaks at a campaign rally in Grand Rapids, Mich. Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. 

In this Oct. 14, 2020 file photo, now-GOP Rep. Peter Meijer (MI-03) speaks at a campaign rally in Grand Rapids, Mich. Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021.  (AP )

Cox’s victory in the Maryland primary came three weeks after conservative state Sen. Darren Bailey’s convincing win in the Illinois GOP gubernatorial primary. Bailey, another believer of Trump’s election claims, was also endorsed and supported by the former president. And Bailey was also supported by the DGA and Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who, combined, spent tens of millions of dollars to boost Bailey over moderate Republican Mayor Richard Irvin of Aurora, Illinois, a city in metropolitan Chicago. 

There was a similar dynamic in Pennsylvania's May GOP gubernatorial primary, where the Trump-endorsed candidate – conservative state Sen. Doug Mastriano – was also boosted to victory by the DGA.

But meddling by a pro-Democrat super PAC in Colorado’s June GOP Senate primary was unsuccessful, as the far-right candidate they boosted with ads – state Rep. Ron Hanks – lost the nomination battle to more mainstream Republican businessman Joe O’Dea.

Meijer’s campaign spokesperson, Emily Taylor, told Fox News that "the DCCC boosting John Gibbs is clear evidence of who Nancy Pelosi prefers in this race. Democrats don't want to face Peter Meijer in the November election because Peter is the best candidate to represent West Michigan in Congress, and he's the only candidate who will put the interests of the Third District ahead of partisan priorities. We are confident that voters will see through Democrats' political games while Peter remains focused on the issues that matter most to the people he represents." 

And a national GOP strategist who works on House races told Fox News that "Republican voters should think twice before voting for any candidate bankrolled by [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi's DCCC."

HEAD TO THE FOX NEWS ELECTIONS CENTER FOR THE LATEST PRIMARY RESULTS 

Of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump over the deadly attack on the Capitol by right wing extremists and other Trump supporters aiming to disrupt congressional certification of President Biden’s Electoral College victory, six are running for reelection this year. 

One of them – Rep. David Valadao of California – wasn’t targeted by Trump. Valadao last month won a spot in November’s general election, as he was one of the top two finishers in California’s nonpartisan primaries.

Another – Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina – lost his bid for renomination in the GOP primary last month to a Trump endorsed and heavily supported challenger.

Republican Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina speaks to supporters at a campaign event on the eve of the state's primary, Pawleys Island on June 13, 2022. Rice, who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump over the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, was defeated in the GOP primary by a Trump-backed challenger.

Republican Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina speaks to supporters at a campaign event on the eve of the state's primary, Pawleys Island on June 13, 2022. Rice, who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump over the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, was defeated in the GOP primary by a Trump-backed challenger. (Fox News )

Reps. Dan Newhouse and Jamie Herrera Beutler of Washington State are facing multiple primary challengers – including candidates backed by Trump – in next week’s primary in their state. Washington State and Michigan, along with a handful of other states, hold primaries on August 2.

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The most well known of the House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump – Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming – is facing multiple primary challengers including a Trump-backed candidate – in Wyoming’s August 16 primary.

Fox News' Matthew Wall contributed to this story