A corollary of the large number of right-wing extremists now trying to take over the Republican Party — even more completely than they already have — is the large number of GOP political candidates currently under indictment. Now, one of the five Republicans running to replace Michigan Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer is being arraigned on federal charges stemming from his participation in the storming of the Capitol during the January 6th, 2021 insurrection.
40-year-old Ryan Kelley was originally arrested by the FBI early last month on misdemeanor charges for his activities on January 6th and quickly released after a search of his Michigan home, but now, according to WDIV-TV, he is being accused of more serious charges after footage surfaced “showing Kelley on the Capitol steps, climbing the structure and entering the Capitol’s North West Courtyard.” The footage also showed Kelley “using his hands to support another rioter who is pulling the metal barricade.”
The charges that Kelley now faces as he runs for the GOP nomination to become his state’s highest elected official include:
Knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority;
Disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds;
Knowingly engaging in any act of physical violence against person or property in any restricted building or grounds; and
Willfully injuring or committing any depredation against any property of the United States.
In saner times, such serious criminal charges would automatically disqualify the defendant from attempting to seek any type of government job, much less that of the state’s governor. In today’s Republican Party, however, Kelley seems to be trying to wear his arrest as a badge of twisted honor.
At a recent debate of the candidates in Michigan’s Republican gubernatorial primary, Kelly used the FBI raid of his home as a talking point to help burnish his MAGA credentials.
This Michigan GOP gubernatorial debate is just candidates calling each others RINOs and telling stories about being raided by the FBI. pic.twitter.com/ihuE4HPELj
— The Republican Accountability Project (@AccountableGOP) July 7, 2022
Of course, the field of candidates on that debate stage was significantly reduced by the elimination of five other potential nominees whose petitions including nominating signatures were discovered to contain multiple instances of invalid entries and phony signatures.
Apparently having a sound moral character is no longer a requirement for becoming a Republican candidate in Michigan, and likely anywhere else that the Republican Party operates.
When will Republican voters who normally dance to the beat of a law and order mandate reject these candidates who thumb their noses at the rule of law?
Until the public walks away from the GOP, the kind of behavior exhibited by Ryan Kelley in Michigan will continue unabated among Republican politicians who see it as a way to get the attention of Trump’s MAGA hordes.
Original reporting by Cassidy Johncox at ClickOnDetroit.
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Vinnie Longobardo is the Managing Editor of Occupy Democrats. He's a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.