Trump-backed Gibbs topples Meijer in 3rd Congressional GOP primary

By: - August 3, 2022 8:26 am

Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI) arrives to a caucus meeting where they’ll hold a vote on a replacement for Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) as Chair of the House Republican Conference in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center on May 14, 2021 in Washington, DC. | Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Updated 1:04 p.m. with 6th Congressional District numbers

In Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District, Republican U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer of Grand Rapids was ousted Tuesday by John Gibbs, who previously worked in the Department of Housing and Urban Development during the Trump administration. 

Hillary Scholten with her son in Grand Rapids | Nick Mannes

Gibbs scored 51.8% with 88% reporting as of 3:03 a.m. Wednesday, according to unofficial returns. Meijer had 48.2%.

Gibbs will face Democrat Hillary Scholten, an immigration attorney who lost to Meijer for the open seat in 2020. The district has been redrawn and leans Democratic now. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) made the controversial move to boost Gibbs in the race with an ad buy.

Meijer, a veteran and heir to the Meijer grocery chain fortune, later conceded to Gibbs, calling the race “a hard fought primary campaign,” in a statement.

The former president had a strong presence in this West Michigan race, endorsing Gibbs in November 2021. Gibbs also was featured at an April Trump rally in Macomb County. Trump invited Gibbs on stage after slamming Meijer for voting to impeach Trump after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol to overturn the 2020 election Trump lost to President Joe Biden.

Meijer was one of 10 Republican representatives who voted to impeach Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Gibbs has supported Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen, with his website saying there were “widespread irregularities and statistical anomalies in the 2020 election.” He previously came under fire due to a history of Tweets promoting conspiracy theories, according to a report from CNN.

In January 2021, Meijer released a letter saying he would not object to counting electoral votes for Joe Biden. According to a report from the Detroit Free Press, while Meijer and 12 other lawmakers had concerns about abuses in the election system, it is not Congress’ role to reject electors sent by the states. 

GOP congressional candidate John Gibbs at Former President Donald Trump rally in Washington Twp. on April 2, 2022 | Allison R. Donahue

Michigan’s 3rd District includes Grand Rapids, Grand Haven and Muskegon.

Meijer had centered his campaign around “defending West Michigan values,” discussing issues like inflation and support for veterans. Meijer served as a non-commissioned officer in Iraq. 

Both Gibbs and Meijer stand opposed to abortion, with Meijer garnering an endorsement from Right to Life Michigan, an organization opposed to abortion and euthanasia. Gibbs and Meijer also oppose gun control efforts, with Gibbs arguing the right guarantees “nationwide permitless concealed carry, at the bare minimum.”

Here are the results of other key congressional results across the state:

2nd Congressional District

U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar of Midland was victorious over challenger Thomas J. Norton. Jerry Hilliard, who ran uncontested, will be the Democratic nominee.

5th Congressional District

U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg of Tipton defeated his challenger, Sherry O’Donnell. He will face Democrat Bart Goldberg in the November election.

6th Congressional District

The GOP race between Republican Hima Kolanagireddy and Whittney Williams was ultimately decided in Williams’ favor. With an estimated 99% of votes counted at 12:45 p.m. Wednesday, Williams received 53.7% of the vote. She will face U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Ann Arbor) in November.

8th Congressional District

Paul Junge of Grand Blanc defeated Candice Miller and Matthew Seely in the Republican primary. Junge will face U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint) in the general election.

9th Congressional District

U.S. Rep. Lisa McClain from Bruce Township defeated challenger Michelle Donovan in the GOP primary. McClain will face Democrat Brian Jaye on the November ballot.

10th Congressional District

Republican John James, who unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate twice, defeated opponent Tony Marcinkewciz in the Republican primary. 

Former Judge Carl Marlinga prevailed over opponents Henry Yanez, Angela Rogensues, Rhonda Powell, and Huwaida Arraf in the Democratic contest. He will face James in the upcoming general election.

John James at President Donald Trump’s Battle Creek rally, Dec. 18, 2019 | Andrew Roth

And here are the unopposed candidates who move on to November ballot:

1st Congressional District

U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet) ran unopposed in the GOP primary and will face off in November against Democrat Bob Lorinser, who also ran unopposed.

4th Congressional District

U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga of Zeeland will face Democratic write-in candidate Joseph Alfonso in the general election, with both candidates unopposed in their primaries.

7th Congressional District

U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) and state Sen. Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte) will face off on the November ballot, with both candidates running unopposed in their primaries. This is considered one of the most competitive races in the nation.

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Kyle Davidson
Kyle Davidson

Kyle Davidson is a reporting intern for the Michigan Advance. A recent MSU graduate, Kyle studied journalism and political science. He has reported on community events, breaking news, state policy, and the environment for outlets including the Lansing State Journal, the Detroit Free Press and Capital News Service.

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