Jan. 6 protesters find a new cause: Running for office

It’s tough to state with precision simply what number of of those that participated within the rally on the Ellipse, marched to the Capitol or stormed the constructing shall be on the poll in 2022 — in lots of states, candidate submitting deadlines are months away.

However a POLITICO evaluate of Division of Justice case stories, social media posts, information accounts and interviews with attendees discovered that final yr alone, 11 Jan. 6 protesters have been elected to workplaces starting from state legislature to metropolis council to high school board.

This yr, greater than two dozen are operating for Congress, state legislature or statewide office — together with at the very least two protesters who really entered the Capitol. A minimum of 5 Jan. 6ers are gearing up for gubernatorial races, among them Doug Mastriano, a Pennsylvania state senator and a main voice within the nationwide motion to discredit the 2020 election outcomes.


A minimum of three candidates this yr face costs associated to the Jan. 6 riots.

Few of them specific any contrition for their involvement in a day that ended up with an assault on the nation’s temple of democracy, 140 injured police officers and greater than 700 arrests.

“They’re going to attempt to twist it and bend it to suit the narrative that I’m a horrible human being, that I’m an insurrectionist and I do know that’s coming,” stated Ryan Kelley, who’s operating for governor of Michigan, in an interview with POLITICO. “However on the finish of the day, sorry guys, I didn’t do something illegal or unlawful. You simply didn’t like what occurred that day they usually simply need to push that revolt narrative.”

Kelley, like the vast majority of Jan. 6 protesters who shall be on the poll this yr, didn’t enter the Capitol or battle with law enforcement officials. And the rally in assist of President Donald Trump’s false claims of a stolen election was not his first.

Kelley led rallies in Lansing, Michigan, in November 2020 to protest the presidential election outcomes and is a co-founder of American Patriot Council, a company that demonstrated in opposition to Covid restrictions on the Michigan Capitol Constructing in April 2020. That April demonstration drew nationwide discover when armed protesters tried to enter the ground of the chamber after which occupied the gallery above.

The group’s different co-founder, Jason Howland, was photographed contained in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Howland is presently operating for state legislature in Michigan. He didn’t reply to a number of requests for remark.

“As I journey across the state, I’m an insurrectionist to some folks,” stated Kelley. “, to different folks, it’s like, ‘That’s why I’m voting for you. Since you stroll the stroll and also you have been on the market preventing for us.’”

Over time, perceptions about the Capitol riots have evolved, with partisan gaps surfacing on the problems of culpability, motivation and severity of the violence. However Democrats are decided to carry this class of candidates accountable for their position in a nationwide day of infamy, and maintain voters centered on the violent nature of the assault on the Capitol.

“This wasn’t like they have been out on the fully nonviolent Girls’s March. They have been an indignant mob with folks that have been chanting ‘Kill Mike Pence.’ And folks that needed to kill [Rep.] Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; folks tried to crush law enforcement officials with boundaries. They usually did nothing to cease or redirect that power,” stated Jessica Submit, president of the Democratic Legislative Marketing campaign Committee.

The DLCC took the lead in figuring out and shaming Jan. 6 protestors who additionally maintain public office with a pop-up web site that lists their names, in addition to the names of all 600 elected officers who signed on to an open letter asking Congress to not certify the election outcomes.

The Jan. 6 candidates anticipate marketing campaign opponents will affiliate them with the worst violence of the Capitol assault. Teddy Daniels, who’s operating for Congress in Pennsylvania’s eighth District, stated he and different candidates really feel they’ve been unfairly labeled as seditionists, insurrectionists and traitors.

“Let me inform you, I took 4 bullets in Afghanistan with an American flag on my uniform. And to come back again and since I used to be in D.C. on January 6, the Left and the mainstream media desires to name me a traitor to my nation,” stated Daniels, a veteran who was current for Trump’s speech however didn’t enter the Capitol. “It’s gas within the tank.”


Daniels stated that he’s “one hundred pc assured” that there gained’t be fraud in his race in 2022 largely due to efforts to focus consideration on election integrity within the aftermath of the 2020 election. And, in Michigan, Kelley stated he’s “hopeful” that there gained’t be election fraud “as a result of folks have their eyes broad open.”

Democrats are eager to level out the irony of their remarks within the wake of their involvement within the occasions of Jan. 6.

“[I]f folks participated on this [Jan. 6] they usually’re operating in 2022, it simply exhibits how disingenuous this continues to be. Should you assume American democracy is damaged, and free and honest elections should not being held, [then] it’s ridiculous that you just assume it’s acceptable to place your title on the poll.”

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