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Trump-backed congressional candidate John Gibbs pulls off upset victory in Michigan
August 03 2022, 08:00

John Gibbs has defeated incumbent Rep. Peter Meijer, R-MI, in the closely watched Republican primary for Michigan's 3rd Congressional District, the Associated Press called just after 3 a.m. Wednesday.

The race pitted former President Donald Trump, who backed Gibbs, against one of only 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach him following the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol last year.

Democrats were accused of meddling in the race, with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to run ads in support of Gibbs. Those actions suggested they viewed him as the more favorable candidate to face in the November midterms.

Gibbs will now face Democratic nominee Hillary Scholten, who ran unopposed in her primary, in what is expected to be one of the most competitive House races in this year's midterm elections.

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Meijer, an Iraq War veteran who was elected to Congress in 2020, was one of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach then-President Trump.

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." 

Trump celebrated Gibbs' victory in a post on Truth Social where he thanked his supporters. 

"Fantastic night in Michigan! Tudor Dixon will be a great Governor. John Gibbs WON with a big surge in the end. Not a good time for Impeachers - 7 down, 3 to go! Thank you Michigan!" he wrote in the post.

Just before AP officially called the race for Gibbs, Meijer conceded the primary contest.

MICHIGAN GOP CANCELS ELECTION NIGHT WATCH PARTY AFTER STAFFER ALLEGEDLY THREATENED

"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," Meijer said. "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."

Republicans currently hold 211 seats and need to reach 218 in order to win control of the House of Representatives from the Democrats, something most analysts believe inevitable given historical trends and the unpopularity of President Biden's administration.

The general election will be held on Nov. 8.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.