You know about Herschel Walker, Blake Masters, and J.D. Vance. Here are 12 other Republicans who could to take an axe to democracy should they win on Tuesday
IT WAS MORE than a little troubling when Marjorie Taylor Greene, someone who had demonstrated an affinity for QAnon while pushing several other conspiracy theories, was elected to Congress in 2020. The House of Representatives voted to strip her of her committee assignments shortly after her term began, and even the office of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called her views “deeply disturbing.”
A lot can change in two years.
The Republican Party is now totally in thrall of extremists and conspiracy theorists, including former President Donald Trump, who made professing a belief that the 2020 election was stolen is a requirement for anyone looking to have good standing in the MAGA-fied GOP. The party-wide embrace of un-reality has birthed a slate of midterm candidates rife with QAnon adherents, election deniers, and other far-right conservatives hell-bent on destroying democracy — and with it the rights of millions of Americans.
The GOP brass is along for the ride. McCarthy even promised on Monday that Greene will be sitting on committees in the next Congress. Her brand of extremism is no longer “deeply disturbing” — it’s the Republican party line. Below is a list of some of the most dangerous Republican candidates toeing it as they run for both for positions in Congress and in state-wide positions of power.
What she’s running for: Arizona governor
Why she’s so problematic: Lake is a 53-year-old former TV journalist who brings an attractive patina to far-right MAGA politics. Most notably, she’s not very interested in facts. During the pandemic she promoted herself with a logo of a burning mask and touted the virtues of quack treatments like hydroxychloroquine. She responded to an election investigation that found no fraud in Maricopa County with a demand to have the state’s election “decertified.” She has called for her opponent, the current secretary of state, to be jailed based on similar nonsense.
On the border, Lake has vowed to lead a military response to undocumented immigration, even without approval from the federal government. “As soon as my hand comes off the Bible, we’re going to send the Arizona National Guard troops,” Lake told CPAC attendees this year. She alleged a “sovereignty” of the state of Arizona, and declared: “We will take the fight to the federal government.”
Trump absolutely loves her, to the point that rumors have swirled that he could tap her as his running mate should he run in 2024.
Likelihood she’ll win: Polls show Lake with a small but consistent lead over Democrat Katie Hobbs.
What to drink if she does: A magnum of mescal.
What he’s running for: Wisconsin governor
Why he’s so problematic: Wisconsin has been the beta test for national Republican strategies against democracy. The GOP has managed to turn a 50-50 swing state, through gerrymandering, into a fortress of MAGA power. The current governor, Democrat Tony Evers, has been holding back a flood, vetoing GOP-passed bills at a record clip.
Michels, a construction executive with longtime political ambitions, was caught on tape recently promising supporters: “Republicans will never lose another election in Wisconsin after I’m elected governor. (“They’re looking to impose one-party rule with zero accountability to voters,” Hillary Clinton tweeted in response, “and they’re not being subtle about it.”)
Tim Michels: "Republicans will never lose another election in Wisconsin after I'm elected governor."
He’s saying the quiet part out loud. pic.twitter.com/U4CcOSghQH
— The Republican Accountability Project (@AccountableGOP) November 1, 2022
Michaels also has a long record of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, insisting in a past senatorial debate that LGBTQ families shouldn’t “bring it out of your house, and onto the public street,” because “I believe in family values.” More recently, he’s railed against the “liberal” media, responding to an expose of his record with a call to “get out on the streets with pitchforks and torches.”
Likelihood he wins: Late polling shows a tossup.
What to drink if he does: There’s not enough Pabst in the world.
What office: Arizona secretary of state
Why he’s so problematic: A member of the Oath Keepers who marched in D.C. on Jan. 6 and remains a steadfast proponent of the Big Lie, Finchem is striving to be the top election official in Arizona. He is an ultra-MAGA election denier who could tip the scales against democracy in favor of authoritarianism — especially in a state that’s turned into ground zero for false claims of election fraud.
Finchem has said he was “honored” to have the endorsement of Andrew Torba, the antisemitic, Christian nationalist founder of Gab, the hate-filled social media network. He has compared progressive criticism of conservatives, and “cancel culture,” to the Holocaust. Finchem has also drawn criticism for appearing at a fundraiser with conspiracy theorists including 9/11 “truthers,” and for himself spouting QAnon beliefs about child-trafficking Democrats.
Likelihood he wins: The latest polls show Finchem a half-dozen points off the lead.
What to drink if he does: Make yourself the worm in a vat of tequila.
What office: Nevada secretary of state
Why he’s so problematic: Marchant is a former congressional candidate who claimed, without evidence, to have been cheated out of a House seat in 2020. He’s the president of the America First Secretary of State Coalition, a collection of Big Lie candidates that also includes Finchem. Linked to QAnon by the Las Vegas Sun, Marchant says he would not have certified Biden’s win in 2020. In the name of election “integrity,” he’s proposed reviving a practice — common in the Jim Crow South — to “wipe out the voter rolls completely and then have everybody re-register.”
Likelihood he wins: Marchant is trailing by three points in a pair of recent polls.
What do drink if he does: Fuck liquor. Fire up the gravity bong with some legal Las Vegas kind bud, and launch yourself into oblivion along with our democracy.
What he’s running for: Pennsylvania governor
Why he’s so problematic: Mastriano is a Christian-nationalist state legislator who was reportedly Donald Trump’s “point person” in the effort to assemble Pennsylvania’s fake slate of Electoral College votes for 2020. Prior to the events of Jan. 6, Mastriano appeared with a far-right prayer group, imploring God to help Republicans “seize the power.” Mastriano then chartered buses to take supporters to D.C., where he was billed as a speaker and himself reportedly crossed police lines at the Capitol.
Mastriano, a steadfast Big Lie proponent, is an open threat to electoral democracy. He pitches himself to MAGA voters as being able to hand-select Pennsylvania’s next secretary of state — i.e. its top election authority. He’d also have sole authority to certify (or refuse to certify) Pennsylvania’s next Electoral College slate. It’s a scary proposition considering Mastriano is tied to a medley of far-right charismatic Christian apostles and prophets who see him as a God-sent militant to lead a Christian takeover of the state, and spur on one for the entire nation.
Likelihood he wins: Polls consistently show Mastriano trailing Democrat Josh Shapiro. Upsetting him would take the miracle his backers are praying for.
What to drink if he does: Drown yourself in a whole ass keg of Yeungling.
What he’s running for: U.S. Senate in Missouri
Why he’s so problematic: Did Trump want Eric Schmitt to win the GOP primary for Senate in Missouri? Sort of! The most notable moment of the state attorney general’s campaign to head to Washington may have been the quasi-nod the former president gave both him and Eric Greitens, whom Schmitt defeated a day later. He’ll now likely be a U.S. senator, which is troubling for several reasons. For one, he’s a right-wing culture warrior who has promised “to stop the radical cancel culture agenda being advanced by the left.” He also used his post as attorney general to sue Missouri schools implementing pandemic mitigation efforts, attempted to have the Affordable Care Act dismissed, and threatened to sue the city of Kansas City if it gives financial help to city employees seeking out-of-state abortions.
It shouldn’t be surprising that Schmitt is also an election denier, and in addition to being part of the slew of attorneys general who filed lawsuits attempting to overturn President Biden’s win in various states, served as the vice chair of a dark money group whose policy outfit organized thousands of robocalls urging people to join the “Stop the Steal” Jan. 6 protest.
Likelihood he wins: Almost certain. Schmitt currently holds a double-digit lead over Democrat Trudy Busch Valentine in the red state.
What to drink if he does: Just a whole lot of Budweiser.
What she’s running for: Michigan secretary of state
Why she’s so problematic: It’s hard to be more extreme than Kristina Kamaro, the Trump-endorsed Republican running for secretary of state in Michigan. She’s been connected to QAnon, and has made a series of outlandish claims that wouldn’t be out of place in darkest corners of conspiracy forums, including that performers like Cardi B and Billie Eilish are putting children “under a satanic delusion.” She’s also ascribed satanism to abortion, calling the practice “child sacrifice,” and spoken about a belief in “demonic possession.”
Kamaro is an devout election denier, and has preempted Tuesday’s midterm by claiming without evidence that the result will be plagued by “illegal votes.” She even filed a lawsuit trying to prevent absentee votes from being counted. The suit was dismissed on Monday, with Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Kenny writing that Kamaro didn’t produce a “shred of evidence.”
If Kamaro wins on Tuesday, she would be set to take control of the Michigan’s election systems, which could mean curtains for democracy in the crucial swing state.
Likelihood she’ll win: Low. She’s trailing incumbent Jocelyn Benson by a wide margin.
What to drink if she does: Holy water.
Why he’s so problematic: A regular Tucker Carlson guest, Kent has promised followers that as a congressman he would launch a full-fledged investigation into unfounded allegations of fraud in the 2020 election, and recently appeared at a rally supporting Jan. 6 defendants. Kent’s ties with extremist groups have followed his campaign. He’s been forced to address associations with white nationalist figures like Nick Fuentes and Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibb, and was caught paying “consulting” fees to a someone who had been a member of the Proud Boys. There’s also evidence that Kent may have negotiated a deal with the far-right website Gab to boost his followers on the platform. Fortunately for Kent, he’s running in a district that has been held by Republicans for the last five elections.
Likelihood he wins: It’s all but guaranteed.
What to drink if he does: The driest, hoppiest IPA you’ve ever had, but at room temperature.
What he’s running for: U.S. Senate in New Hampshire
Why he’s so problematic: Bolduc, a retired Army general, ran his campaign for the Republican Party’s nomination for Senate in New Hampshire as a hard-and-fast election denier. “I signed a letter with 120 other generals and admirals saying Trump won the election, and damnit I stand by my word,” he said during an Aug. 14 GOP debate. He narrowly won the primary, after which he immediately changed course, saying “definitely” that the 2020 election was not stolen.
On Fox News, New Hampshire Republican Senate candidate Don Bolduc tries to distance himself from comments he made just last month (!) claiming Trump actually won the 2020 election pic.twitter.com/V1NgkNs4Am
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 15, 2022
In other words, Bolduc is full of shit. He also seems primed to allege the 2022 election was rigged should he lose to Democrat Maggie Hassan. He’s currently trailing Hassan, which is why Democrats were hoping he’d win his primary, but if he wins it will likely mean Republicans will have taken control of the chamber, with Bolduc entrenching himself as another senator fighting to unravel democracy on behalf of the former president.
Likelihood he wins: Bolduc is the underdog, but polling averages show him within striking distance of Hassan.
What to drink if he does: A no-nonsense shot of whiskey.
What he’s running for: Michigan attorney general
Why he’s so problematic: Election conspiracy theorist Matt DePerno is trying to turn his denial of Trump’s 2020 election loss into a position as Michigan’s attorney general. He filed a lawsuit based on the conspiracy theory that Dominion Voting Systems tampered with voting machines in order to produce favorable results for Biden, but it was he who was allegedly tampering with voting equipment in the aftermath of the election.
DePerno is one of a series of candidates running for office in Michigan on the coattails of Trump’s “Big Lie.” Republicans in the state have spent the last two years trying to reshape election oversight, and DePerno could have the power to make it happen should he be elected. He’s already promised to prosecute a list of Democratic politicians including Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and his election opponent, current Attorney General Dana Nessel.
Touting an endorsement from Trump and QAnon figure Gen. Michael Flynn, DePerno’s proposed platform as attorney general is also informed by culture war grievances. He’s promised to outlaw critical race theory and end any Covid mandates in the state.
Likelihood he wins: Nessel holds a narrow lead, but the race could go either way.
What to drink if he does: a Great Lake-sized glass of anything
What he’s running for: U.S. House in Ohio
Why he’s so problematic: Majewski is a devoted Trump supporter and conspiracy theorist whose affinity for extremism has defined his campaign since its inception. Reports emerged in May of this year that he attended the Jan. 6 “Stop The Steal” rally challenging President Trump’s 2020 election loss. He’s attempted to distance himself from his public support for QAnon, but video emerged of him declaring that he believed “in everything that’s been put out from Q.” He also said on video that he “wanted nothing more than to go in [the Capitol]” on Jan. 6, but refrained because his companions “had physical limitations.” Majewski’s campaign was dealt a heavy blow in September, when he lost the support of the House GOP after reports emerged that he misled voters about being an Afghanistan veteran.
Likelihood he wins: Democrat Marcy Kaptur is favored in polls, but it’s close.
What to drink if he does: Loco Mocha Java Monster Energy with a shot of diesel fuel.
Why he’s so problematic: John Gibbs once said women’s suffrage hurt the country. Now he needs them to help him win a seat in the House.
The far-right candidate turned a career as a political commentator into an appointment as an adviser to Ben Carson in the Trump administration, and his loyalty to the former president has manifested itself in a campaign riddled with election denial and conspiracy. Gibbs claimed the results of the 2020 election were “mathematically impossible” and attacked incumbent Republican Rep. Peter Meijer for voting to impeach Trump in the aftermath of Jan. 6.
But false claims about the 2020 election are not the only conspiracies Gibbs has promoted. In 2016, he tweeted multiple posts claiming that a Hillary Clinton campaign chairman had participated in satanic rituals. Gibbs repeatedly posted the hashtag “SpiritCooking” on Twitter, a reference to false claims on far-right forums that Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman John Podesta used bodily fluids in his supposed dabbling with the occult.
Likelihood he wins: It’s a toss up between Gibbs and Democrat Hillary Scholten.
What to drink if he does: Adrenochrome on ice.