House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Friday defended efforts to boost election deniers and other far-right Republican candidates whom Democrats see as easier to defeat despite criticism from members of her own party.
“The political decisions that are made there are made with a view to our winning the election,” Pelosi told reporters at a news conference on Friday. “We think the contrast between Democrats and Republicans as they are now is so stark that we have to – we have to win.”
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched a $425,000 ad earlier this week that amped up John Gibbs, a House candidate for a western Michigan district who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump .
Although the ad is on the face of it an attack on Gibbs for his ties to Trump, GOP primary voters may be motivated to vote for him for the same reason. A spokesman for his opponent, first-term Rep. Peter Meijer, said the announcement was an attempt by Democrats to boost their chances of winning the district in the fall.
Some House Democrats earlier this week criticized Gibbs’ ad, citing the dangers of elevating a former Trump official as undermining their broader message that Trump’s move is a threat to American democracy.
Pelosi’s comments came in response to a reporter asking how the speaker aligned remarks she repeatedly made about the demand for a strong Republican Party with Democrats’ efforts to boost Republican candidates who refuse the elections.
“I said we needed a strong Republican Party, not a cult of personality, that didn’t mean we shouldn’t have a strong Democratic Party either,” Pelosi said.
The ad elevating Gibbs was just one example of the Democratic Party’s efforts to interfere in the GOP primaries. Democrats also tried to boost State Sen. Doug Mastriano, a far-right Holocaust denier, who was outside the Capitol on Jan. 6 during Pennsylvania’s GOP gubernatorial primary.
Nine former and current Republican officials have since publicly backed his Democratic opponent, Attorney General Josh Shapiro.
Democrats have meddled in a number of other races.
The Democratic Governors Association earmarked nearly $1.2 million in ads earlier this month to promote Trump-backed candidate Dan Cox in the Republican primary for governor of Maryland. Cox, who backed Trump’s false election theft claims, won the nomination.
And in Arizona’s upcoming Republican gubernatorial primary, Democrats backed Trump-chosen candidate Kari Lake, also an election denier, by highlighting past donations made by her opponent Karrin Taylor Robson to Democratic candidates.