Democracy expert cites concerns after election denier tapped for House GOP campaign panel
Rep. Angela Rigas participated in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection
A protester holds a Trump flag inside the U.S. Capitol Building near the Senate Chamber on January 06, 2021. | Win McNamee/Getty Images
A state GOP legislator who attended the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection and pushes the lie that the 2020 election was stolen is now helping lead the Michigan House Republicans’ campaign committee, raising concerns from a democracy expert who called the appointment “a warning bell” for Michigan voters.
State Rep. Angela Rigas (R-Caledonia) is one of the GOP lawmakers appointed to be an executive member of the campaign committee, the caucus’ leadership panel that works to elect and reelect Republicans to the chamber, House Minority Leader Matt Hall (R-Richland Twp.) announced Feb. 21.
Rigas is an election denier and was in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021, in support of former President Donald Trump, who lost the 2020 election to President Joe Biden. Rigas — who was endorsed by Trump in her campaign for the 79th House District — has admitted to participating in the rally and claims she was tear-gassed within the Capitol grounds.
The riot left five people dead and more than 140 police officers injured.
Disproven claims of election fraud in the 2020 presidential election incited the armed, far-right mob of Trump supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol building two years ago.
“In both the 2020 and 2022 elections, Michiganders rejected politicians who denied lawful election results or who distorted facts for political gain,” said Matt Patton, Michigan policy advocate for Protect Democracy.
“Appointments like this should be a warning bell for Michigan voters who believe facts matter and that acknowledging clear winners and losers of elections is the bedrock of democracy itself.”
Rigas has said that she considers being called an “insurrectionist” and “terrorist” a “compliment,” and believes participants in the insurrection were “exercising their God-given Constitutional rights.”
She has also espoused anti-vaccine rhetoric, was involved in rallies protesting Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s COVID-19 health orders and is a member of the Michigan House Freedom Caucus that has been combative with new Democratic leadership.
House Republicans spokesperson Gus Portela did not respond to an inquiry regarding the optics of having a January 6 participant in the panel’s leadership team.
Rigas said in a statement Friday that she is “excited to start my new role as Executive Board member of the House Republican Campaign Committee.”
“I’m honored to work with many other great Representatives around the state to make Michigan red in 2024 and ensure we gain a Republican majority and the People’s Chamber,”she added.
State Rep. Andrew Beeler (R-Port Huron) was tapped by Hall to lead the HRCC.
“We’re going to stop the radical Democrat agenda that seeks to tax families and small businesses into oblivion,” Beeler said Tuesday.
Half of incoming Michigan GOP lawmakers are election deniers
More members of the HRCC leadership team include state Rep. Bill G. Schuette (R-Midland) in the vice chair role; state Rep. Mike Harris (R-Clarkston) as recruitment chair; state Rep. Jaime Greene (R-Richmond) as recruitment vice chair; state Rep. Graham Filler (R-St. Johns) as finance chair and state Rep. Tom Kunse (R-Clare) as finance vice chair.
Rigas is joined by fellow state Reps. Bryan Posthumus (R-Cannon Twp.), Phil Green (R-Millington), Luke Meerman (R-Coopersville), Pat Outman (R-Six Lakes), John Roth (R-Traverse City), Mark Tisdel (R-Rochester Hills), Matthew Bierlein (R-Vassar), Nancy De Boer (R-Holland), Gina Johnsen (R-Lake Odessa), Thomas Kuhn (R-Troy) and Kathy Schmaltz (R-Jackson) as executive members on the committee.
Beeler, Posthumus, Meerman, Outman and Roth have also, in various ways, denied the results of the 2020 election, as the Advance previously reported.
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