Major’s defeat shows GOP intolerance of Trump’s opponents

WASHINGTON — The defeat of Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer, a young conservative descendant of a supermarket empire, voted to impeach President Donald J. Trump on Tuesday, yet another sign of the party’s conservative core determined to oust Those who dare to destroy have embarked on a revenge journey with Mr Trump aimed at punishing his opponents.

Mr. Mayer was defeated by a far-right challenger backed by Mr. Trump, becoming the second of 10 Republicans to break with the GOP to support impeachment ousted in the GOP primary.

Republican voters in Grand Rapids rejected Mr. Mayer in favor of John Gibbs, a former official with the Department of Housing and Urban Development who has tweeted inflammatory, conspiracy theories. He won the support of the former president after Mr Meyer supported the impeachment of Mr Trump for sedition on Jan. 6, 2021, saying he was “unfit to hold office.”

Because of Mr. Major’s defeat, more than half of the Republicans who voted to impeach Mr. Trump — at least six in 10 — will not return to Congress next year. His defeat underscores the continued interest of right-wing voters who formed the party’s base to force out those who defied the former president.

Two other Republicans who voted to impeach Trump — Rep. Jaime Herrera Boitler and Dan Newhouse — also faced challenges from Trump-backed opponents on Tuesday.

As of early Wednesday morning, both Ms Herrera Beutler and Mr Newhouse appeared to be doing better, thanks in part to an open primary school system and a crowded challenger field. But many votes are still pending.

In the days following the Jan. 6 attacks, Republicans, including Major, were alarmed by the violence and hoped that impeachment of Trump would remove him from the party. Rather, they are the people who have been marginalized and fired in Congressional Republicans as primary voters support those who adopt Mr. Trump’s playbook of attacks fueled by cultural grievances and conspiracy theories.

Four Republicans, most of whom were squeezed by redistricting disadvantaged districts, decided to retire rather than run for re-election. In June, Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina was defeated by a Trump-backed primary challenger who called Rice’s support for impeachment a betrayal. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who has become Mr. Trump’s main opponent and Congress’ most vocal critic, is the vice chairman of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attacks, and she is in public polls. significantly behind the main Trump-backed opponent.

As a result, the already thin ranks of moderates and mainstream conservative Republicans in the House are likely to be thinner next year, with brash Trump-esque candidates replacing them. If they win in November, they will help set the tone for a potential Republican majority, with loyalty to Mr Trump being the driving force.

In another era, Mr. Mayer would be considered the party’s future voice: a 34-year-old, self-funded conservative veteran who served in Iraq and championed hawkish foreign policy, even now last August Fly secretly to Afghanistan and witness the withdrawal of US troops as they leave to fight the Biden administration.

But on his third day in office, Mr Major was evacuated from the House of Representatives as a violent mob besieged the Capitol. A week later, he voted to impeach Mr Trump, becoming one of the more outspoken Republicans warning of the former president’s corrosive effect on the party.

In an interview a few days after the vote, Mr Mayer admitted he was “probably” ending his career in Congress.

“But I think it’s also important that we elect leaders who don’t just think about what’s in their personal interest, not what’s politically expedient, but what our country really needs,” he told the ABC.

Mr. Major’s hunch proved correct. By 3 a.m. ET Wednesday, he was trailing by nearly 5 percentage points, the Associated Press called Mr. Gibbs’ game.

Still, Mr. Mayer’s fight was even more intense than some of his allies in Washington had predicted, with suburban voters in his area ending up strongly backing the incumbent. But ultimately it wasn’t enough to overcome Mr Gibbs’ challenge.

Mr. Gibbs’ nomination will create an uphill battle for Republicans trying to hold on to the seat. The district was redrawn from a district that narrowly voted for Trump in 2020 — but previously supported liberal former congressman Justin Amash — into a district that President Biden could have supported by 9 percentage points.

Mr Gibbs, In 2016, spreading unfounded claims On Twitter, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign chairman participated in a “Satanic Ritual” — one of QAnon’s core tenets, false pro-Trump conspiracy theories. CNN first reported the posts.

Democrats are so bullish on their chances of retaking the area, they put in $425,000 an ad The campaign backed Mr Gibbs’ much-maligned efforts in election engineering.

The contrast between the two candidates couldn’t be more stark. While Mr. Major voted to prove the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, Mr. Gibbs actively promoted conspiracy theories claiming that Mr. Trump was the winner.

Mr. Gibbs said in an interview in April that it was “almost certainly mathematically impossible” for Mr. Trump to lose in 2020.

Mr. Mayer’s brief stint in Congress vividly illustrates the nightmarish consequences — both personally and at the ballot box — that have historically met those who crossed Mr. Trump and left many of his Republicans Colleagues couldn’t resist the former president.

After Mr. Mayer voted to impeach Mr. Trump, he spoke publicly about his “assume that people would try to kill” him and the nine other Republicans who voted to charge the former president with felonies and misdemeanors. He looked for body armor to protect himself.

Now, after just one term, Republican voters have ousted him.

“One of our team should vote with our team,” one voter He declined to identify himself but said he supported Mr Gibbs, said Tuesday at the Kent County poll.

In Washington state, neither Ms. Herrera Beutler nor Mr. Newhouse are as outspoken as Mr. Meijer. They have largely kept a low profile and declined to comment on the far-right party they denounced days after Jan. 6.

Still, Ms. Herrera Beutler briefly drew attention last year as Trump’s impeachment trial drew to a close, when she confirmed in a public statement that Minority Leader Representative Kevin McCarthy had conveyed him January phone call with Mr. Trump. .6 in which Mr Trump sided with the rioters.

Both she and Mr Newhouse ran in crowded open primaries. In these races, all candidates from each party are listed on the same ballot, and the top two winners face off in the general election, regardless of party affiliation.

The system favors candidates who are more inclined to compromise and consensus, and can act as a two-person lifeboat.

Both are trying to fend off Trump-backed challengers whose campaigns are below the pound, and Mr Trump’s backing has failed to clear the way in both races.

The former president’s designated candidate is Army Special Forces veteran Joe Kent, prolific on social media and conservative talk shows, confronting Ms. Herrera Beutler, and Loren Culp, a former police chief and author, challenges Mr Newhouse in a crimson area.

Mr. Kent campaigned as a “stop the stealing” candidate and baselessly suggested that the otherwise peaceful crowd on January 6 had been infiltrated by so-called Deep State agents. Mr Culp, who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2020 against Democrat Jay Inslee, has refused to concede that election, claiming widespread fraud.

In the early hours of Wednesday, both Mr Kent and Mr Culp were third in their area.

sam easter Reporting from Kent County, Michigan.

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