Former Trump official John Gibbs successfully defeated Rep. Peter Meijer on Tuesday night, putting an end to the freshman lawmaker’s brief stint in Washington that began with a vote to impeach former President Donald Trump.
Gibbs was hand-picked by Trump to challenge Meijer because of that decision and to certify the election, both made after the former president incited a mob to attack the U.S. Capitol in an ill-fated scheme to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
Gibbs, who worked at the Department of Housing and Urban Development during the Trump administration, made the idea that the election was stolen from Trump the cornerstone of his campaign and even indicated he may not accept the results of his own race if he was not successful.
“That remains to be seen,” he said, when asked about his acceptance of the vote count by a local news station, in the waning weeks of the primary campaign.
Gibbs is no stranger to misinformation.
When he was nominated to be the director of the Office of Personnel Management while serving at HUD, he was asked by senators about tweets, unearthed by CNN, in which he repeatedly referenced the QAnon belief that Democrats participated in satanic rituals. At the time, Gibbs attributed the tweets to his role as a commentator, “that is behind me, that is not my current role.”
He was never confirmed.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, hoping that Gibbs may be easier to defeat in the newly redrawn district, spent $400,000 on the race with an ad calling Gibbs “too conservative” for Michigan. The gambit was quickly criticized by fellow House Democrats and Meijer himself.
Meijer, for his part, was clear-eyed about his chances for re-election shortly after he made the decision to stand up to the former president.
“This may have been an active of political suicide, but I know that I can look myself in the mirror because I voted my conscience here,” he told The Detroit News.
Shortly before the race was called in Gibbs’ favor early Wednesday, Meijer said in a statement: “A Constitutional Republic like ours requires leaders who are willing to take on the big challenges, to find common ground when possible, and to put their love of country before partisan advantage. Though this was not the outcome we hoped for, I will continue to do everything possible to move the Republican Party, West Michigan, and our country in a positive direction.”