LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Democratic legislative candidate in Michigan won a special election for a heavily Republican seat over a GOP opponent who made controversial comments about rape, Russia’s war in Ukraine and other issues, narrowing Republicans’ state House majority.
Carol Glanville defeated Robert “RJ” Regan by 11 percentage points Tuesday in a Kent County district that her Republican predecessor carried by 26 points in 2020.
Regan had been denounced by GOP leaders since shortly after his upset victory in a four-person primary. In March, while advocating for decertifying the 2020 presidential election during a livestream hosted by a conservative group, Regan responded to a panelist who said it is too late to do anything that her attitude is like what he tells his three daughters: “Well if rape is inevitable, you should just lie back and enjoy it. That’s not how we roll. That’s not how I won this election. We go right at it.”
Regan said he regretted using the analogy but claimed it was taken out of context by members of his own party and reporters. He also had called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a “fake war just like the fake pandemic” and had shared antisemitic social media posts.
With Glanville’s win, Democrats shaved Republicans’ edge to 57-53.
Glanville, a Walker city commissioner, said voters “stood up against hate, conspiracies and Republican extremism, and stood up for our shared west Michigan values of decency, community and working together to solve problems.”
The House Republican Campaign Committee did not help Regan in the race, unlike its efforts in other special elections Tuesday. The Michigan Freedom Network, an independent political action committee with ties to the DeVos family, spent $3,500 supporting Republican write-in candidate Mike Milanowski.
Regan told a conservative talk radio host Wednesday that his loss was a “big, big win for… the RINO establishment who proved beyond a shadow of doubt that they would rather have a Democrat in office than an America First Republican candidate like me. … It’s just despicable what they’re doing.”
Michigan Republican Party spokesperson Gustavo Portela responded that Regan was “possibly the worst candidate I’ve ever seen,” tweeting that he failed to coalesce his own party because of his “gaffes.” He said the GOP will win back the seat, which is changing under redistricting, in November.
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