Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer, one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump over the US Capitol attack, is locked in a near-tie in one of Tuesday’s most closely-watched primary races.
The supermarket chain heir and military veteran is now leading Trump-backed candidate John Gibbs by less than one percentage point more than two hours after polls closed in Michigan’s Third Congressional District.
That’s with just over 20 percent of the vote counted.
Michigan’s newly-redrawn Congressional map recently made the district bluer, creating a target for House Democrats hoping to flip the seat – in an otherwise gloomy forecast for their chances of keeping the majority in November.
Their campaign arm, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), poured cash into Gibbs’ campaign in a last-minute push to get the fringe candidate over the edge.
A former official in Trump’s Housing and Urban Development Department, Gibbs is also known for once pushing a wild conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign manager John Podesta engaged in satanic rituals using bodily fluids.
He’s also spent significantly less on the campaign than Meijer has.
But unlike his other endorsements around the country, Trump did not campaign for Gibbs in the waning days of his race.
Army veteran and grocery store chain heir Rep. Peter Meijer (left) is in a tight primary race against Trump-backed opponent John Gibbs (right)
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Meijer is one of three House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump who could see the end of their political careers on Tuesday evening, as Republican primary voters in Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Washington head to the polls.
Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse of Washington are also tough challenges from Trump-backed primary opponents.
Meanwhile Republican establishment figures have rushed to prop up candidates that would have a broader appeal among Independent and suburban voters amid concerns that Trump’s more fringe-right picks could cost the GOP critical swing districts in November.
In Washington’s Third Congressional District, Beutler is facing Trump-endorsed retired Green Beret Joe Kent, who believes the former president’s election fraud claims and has claimed ‘deep state’ operatives were behind the violence on January 6.
Beutler, who was elected in 2010, is also up against Heidi St. John, a Christian podcaster competing with Kent for the district’s most conservative voters.
In the neighboring deep-red Fourth Congressional District, Newhouse faces seven primary challengers – including Trump-backed military veteran and former police chief Loren Culp.
Four other House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump have already announced their retirements.
GOP Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina lost his primary in June after netting less than half the votes his Trump-backed challenger, Russell Fry, received.
California Republican Rep. Dave Valadao is the only one of the anti-Trump set to have won his primary. January 6 Committee Vice Chair Rep. Liz Cheney is projected to lose her primary later this month to Trump-backed Harriet Hageman.