Many Republican candidates who were directly linked to the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol lost their bids for office in Tuesday’s midterm elections, in a big repudiation of extremism and GOP efforts to torpedo democracy.
Democrats had made the future of democracy a key issue in the campaign, linking just about every GOP candidate to Trump’s lies about the 2020 election and his pernicious attempts to overturn it. They had mixed success on that front, beating some election deniers while failing to defeat others.
But they were effective in preventing people with some of the strongest ties to the Capitol riot from obtaining seats to statewide and federal offices.
In Pennsylvania, GOP gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano lost to Democratic state attorney general Josh Shapiro. Mastriano was deeply involved in the scheme to overturn the election in Pennsylvania. He also chartered buses for Trump supporters to travel from Pennsylvania to Washington, D.C., for the “stop the steal” rally that preceded the riot. Mastriano posed for photos with fans at the event, and videos showed him walking toward the Capitol building after protesters had already charged past police barricades.
In Maryland, GOP gubernatorial candidate Dan Cox lost to Democrat Wesley Moore. Cox also organized buses for Trump supporters to travel to D.C. for Trump’s rally at the White House and called former Vice President Mike Pence a “traitor” after he refused to overturn the election in Congress.
In Ohio, Republican J.R. Majewski lost to incumbent Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), who will become the longest-serving woman from either congressional chamber next year. Majewski is a Trump-backed MAGA devotee with ties to the QAnon conspiracy movement who was also outside the Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Other notable GOP candidates who marched on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and who lost overwhelmingly on Tuesday include Tina Forte, who sought to oust Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.); Jo Rae Perkins, who sought to oust Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.); and Jeff Zink, who sought to oust Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.).
But Republican Derrick Van Orden, who was on the Capitol grounds when the riot broke out, was able to win a rural Wisconsin seat held by retiring Democratic Rep. Ron Kind. His opponent, Democratic state Sen. Brad Pfaff, tried to make Van Orden’s attendance at the insurrection a disqualifier but was vastly outraised.
One Republican candidate linked to Trump’s Jan. 6 rally at the White House ― where he urged hundreds of his supporters to march on the Capitol ― also won on Tuesday. Max Miller, a former White House advance aide who helped organize the event, defeated Democrat Matthew Diemer in a race for a House seat in Ohio.
Many GOP election deniers also won on Tuesday. These Republicans may not have been directly linked to the harrowing events of the insurrection, but they helped spread the lie that the 2020 election was stolen and refused to acknowledge it as legitimate.