Advance Notice: Briefs

Michigan GOP congressional candidate railed against women’s suffrage, women in the workplace

By: - September 22, 2022 1:12 pm

Republican nominee for Michigan’s Third Congressional District John Gibbs campaigns in Lansing on Aug. 27, 2022. (Andrew Roth | Michigan Advance)

A GOP U.S. House nominee has in the past argued against women’s suffrage, even forming an anti-feminism “think tank” in the 2000s that claimed men are smarter than women, according to CNN.

John Gibbs is running in Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District against immigration attorney Hillary Scholten, a Democrat who would be the first woman to represent the West Michigan district. With an endorsement from former President Donald Trump, Gibbs ousted U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Grand Rapids) in the August Republican primary.

Hillary Scholten

Despite claiming to be “not sexist,” Gibbs’ “Society for the Critique of Feminism” that he established as a Stanford University student argued that women do not possess the traits necessary to govern, men are smarter than women because they think “without relying upon emotional reasoning,” having more women in the workplace is bad for business, the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote has caused the country to “suffer” and more.

“We conclude that increasing the size and scope of government is unequivocally bad,” Gibbs wrote. “And since women’s suffrage has caused this to occur on a larger scale than any other cause in history, we conclude that the United States has suffered as a result of women’s suffrage.”

Gibbs’ website, which was live in 2000 and 2001, offered other sexist sentiments like how having more women in the workplace “strains” men by limiting their behaviors and leads to “frivilous” [sic] sexual harassment lawsuits.

Gibbs was featured at a Macomb County Trump rally in April. Meijer, whom he beat in August, had voted to impeach Trump for inciting the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Gibbs previously worked in Trump’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

According to CNN, Gibbs had requested in 2016 for evidence of his “think tank” to be scrubbed from the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. The information was still available on other archival platforms.

On Nov. 8, Gibbs will face Scholten, who lost to Meijer in a race for the open seat in 2020. Women’s rights have been at the forefront of the 2022 election with the U.S. Supreme Court in June overturning Roe v. Wade. Abortion has been the top issue in several Michigan polls, with Gibbs and Scholten on opposite sides.

Gibbs celebrated the decision, is against abortion rights and has been endorsed by Right to Life of Michigan. Scholten supports abortion rights and has been endorsed by the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

“Ladies and gentlemen, todays [sic] @GOP. The assault on women’s rights is in full force,” Scholten tweeted in response to the news Wednesday. “Not on my watch.”

A spokesperson for Gibbs did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In an emailed statement to CNN Wednesday, Gibbs spokesperson Anne Marie Schieber said the Republican “made the site to provoke the left on campus and to draw attention to the hypocrisy of some modern-day feminists.

“It was nothing more than a college kid being over the top,” Schieber said. “Of course, John does not believe that women shouldn’t vote or shouldn’t work, and his mother worked for thirty-three years for the Michigan Department of Transportation!”


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Laina G. Stebbins
Laina G. Stebbins

Laina G. Stebbins is a former Michigan Advance reporter. A lifelong Michigander, she is a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Journalism, where she served as Founding Editor of The Tab Michigan State and as a reporter for the Capital News Service.