This special election's outcome offers valuable lessons for Democrats: former Michigan GOP director

This special election's outcome offers valuable lessons for Democrats: former Michigan GOP director

Many of the elections held in parts of the United States on Tuesday, May 3 were for Republican and Democratic primary races. And reporters focused heavily on races in which former President Donald Trump had made an endorsement, especially Ohio’s 2022 GOP U.S. Senate primary — which found the Trump endorsed “Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance winning the nomination. But one non-primary on May 3 was a special election for a Michigan House of Representatives seat — a race that found Democrat Carol Glanville defeating far-right MAGA Republican R.J. Regan in a Trump-friendly district.

Former Michigan Republican Party Executive Director Jeff Timmer, in an article published by the conservative website The Bulwark on May 9, points to that race as hopeful sign for Democrats in the 2022 midterms. Although Timmer is a conservative, he clearly isn’t sorry that Regan lost. And he lays out some lessons that Democrats can learn from that election’s outcome.

“Carol Glanville, a little-known Democrat, managed to garner 53% percent of the vote against a Trump Republican who emerged from a crowded GOP primary and a scrappy write-in candidate favored by the remaining vestiges of the fabled ‘Republican establishment,’ which has been diminished to such an extent that the candidate was playing a Ralph Nader-esque spoiler role in reverse, helping the Democrat across the finish line,” Timmer explains. “And all this went down in a district where Trump beat Biden 64 to 36% in 2020.”


Regan, Timmer observes, gave Glanville’s campaign a lot of political ammunition to use against him.

“The planets had to align for the Dems to flip this seat in the Michigan House of Representatives — and align they did,” Timmer notes. “The Republican candidate was a special blend of insanity and assholery named Robert ‘R.J.’ Regan. He’s the dude who made national news when he proudly said, on a streaming show, ‘Having three daughters, I tell my daughters, well, if rape is inevitable, you should just lie back and enjoy it.’ He also notoriously uttered anti-Semitic slurs online, praised (Russian President Vladimir) Putin while dissing Ukraine, posted pictures of Dr. Anthony Fauci next to a noose, and lots of other garden-variety QAnon quackery.”

Timmer continues, “The Michigan GOP, not exactly a model of sane politics, distanced itself from Regan’s candidacy but stopped short of calling on him to end it or for voters to choose another candidate. So did the Kent County Republican Party, which has long been influenced by Betsy DeVos and her family. The DeVoses and other Grand Rapids GOP aristocracy helped fund the upstart candidacy of a write-in Republican who wasn’t pro-rape.”

Democrats, Timmer argues, should learn some lessons from the

“shocking Democratic victory” that Glanville pulled off in a very GOP-leaning district.

“Don’t get me wrong — this isn’t a prophetic sign of an oncoming Democratic tsunami in Michigan or anywhere else,” Timmer writes. “And I’m sure as hell not advising that Dems pull out their maps and slide rules to start identifying opportunity districts in Trump +20 land. They should, however, look for GOP districts in the Goldilocks Zone where raging lunatics and MAGA assholes have emerged — or might emerge — from crowded Republican congressional and legislative primaries.”

Timmer adds, “There will be very few candidates presenting as broad a target as R.J. Regan did, to be sure. He was a 10 on the cretin scale. But there are plenty of gently right-leaning seats where candidates posting high kook-o-meter scores will win primaries. One such example comes from Ohio, where Qpilled loon J.R. Majewski won a primary in a district that Fivethirtyeight gives an R+6 partisan breakdown. That sounds like a fight that could be won. So long as Democrats pay attention and continue to sell ‘normalcy,’ they should have a chance to pick up more wins in scenarios like this across the country.”

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