By David Morgan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Representative Peter Meijer, a Michigan Republican targeted by Donald Trump for voting to impeach the former president in 2021, accused Democrats on Monday of subsidizing the "entire campaign" of his Trump-endorsed challenger in Tuesday's primary election.
Meijer, who has been censured by two county Republican parties for opposing Trump and repudiated by a third, is locked in a close race for renomination against John Gibbs, a far-right Republican and former Trump administration official who questions Democratic President Joe Biden's 2020 election victory.
"You would think that the Democrats would look at John Gibbs and see the embodiment of what they say they most fear," Meijer wrote in an opinion article that appeared on Monday in the online newsletter, Common Sense. "Instead they are funding Gibbs."
Democrats are promoting Gibbs and other far-right candidates in the hopes of bettering their odds in the November midterm elections, when Republicans are widely favored to win back control of the House of Representatives.
Video: Rep. Meijer on the state of the GOP one year after Jan. 6
Nationwide, Democrats have spent millions on candidates who echo Trump's false claims that the 2020 election was rigged, even as party leaders say those very same candidates pose a threat to U.S. democracy. They have made similar moves in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Illinois.
Meijer accused Democrats of selling out "any pretense of principle for political expediency — at once decrying the downfall of democracy while rationalizing the use of their hard-raised dollars to prop up the supposed object of their fears."
He cited two Democratic members of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack - Jamie Raskin and Elaine Luria - for supporting the campaign against him. Raskin and Luria did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Meijer, one of only 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump over the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, said Democrats have launched a $435,000 ad buy to promote Gibbs in the final days of the Michigan primary campaign.
That sum dwarfs the $345,000 in contributions that Gibbs' campaign has received since last November, according to Federal Election Commission documents.
"The Democrats are not merely attempting to boost a candidate over the finish line: They are subsidizing his entire campaign," Meijer wrote.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the campaign arm of the House Democrats that produced and financed the Gibbs ad, was not immediately available for comment.
Meijer is not alone in his criticism of the Democratic strategy.
"This decision by the DCCC to try and sink @RepMeijer — one of the few Rs to vote for impeachment — and lift his election-denying MAGA opponent in tomorrow's @GOP primary makes them an instrument of Trump's vengeance. It's wrong," tweeted David Axelrod, one-time adviser to former Democratic President Barack Obama.
(Reporting by David Morgan, additional reporting by James Oliphant; Editing by Scott Malone and Alistair Bell)
Video courtesy of NBCUniversal. For more, check out NBC.com.