Let’s hop back to another lifetime for a second.
Back in May 2022, my former TPM colleague Matt Shuham was one of the first to report on the ever-widening fraudulent signature scandal that engulfed the Republican primary in the state’s gubernatorial race.
The GOP primary race was flipped on its head when Michigan state election officials announced that five Republican candidates had handed in thousands of fraudulent signatures in order to qualify for the primary ballot. It was a dramatic winnowing down of a crowded primary field of candidates, many of whom were running on the backs of election denialism myths and anti-COVID mitigation platforms. After the news broke, five of the 10 candidates who had previously qualified were booted from the ballot, with some of them suing, unsuccessfully, to stay in the race.
That brings us to Ryan Kelley, a right-wing activist who gained notoriety for his COVID-19 conspiracy theories and for demonstrating against the removal of a Confederate statue. He was one of the five GOP candidates who wasn’t booted from the ballot after the fraud scandal, but ultimately did not secure the GOP nomination. He came in fourth. Right-wing media pundit Tudor Dixon ended up winning the primary and lost the election to incumbent Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, suffering considerably among Michigan voters in part due to her stance on abortion.
Kelley’s primary loss could be attributed to any number of things, most notably the fact that he was literally arrested by the FBI during his primary campaign on misdemeanor charges related to his actions at the Capitol building on Jan. 6. He faced four charges, including disorderly conduct and willfully injuring or attacking U.S. property. He pleaded guilty this July and — to come back to the present moment — was sentenced today.
Prosecutors sought at least a three month sentence for the one-time Republican gubernatorial candidate. In weighing Kelley’s sentence today, U.S. District Judge Christopher R. Cooper suggested he wasn’t sure Kelley was “truly remorseful.” Per NBC News:
“I think you misused the platform that you had as a candidate for elected office to minimize, and frankly, to lie about what happened,” Cooper said, referring to fundraising appeals Kelley made years after the riot where he referred to the 2020 election as stolen and called the Jan. 6 riot an “FBI set-up.”
Cooper ultimately sentenced Kelley to 60 days in prison.
The Best Of TPM Today
Here’s what you should read this evening:
The latest from Kate Riga: ‘This Is The Moment’: Some House Republicans Push To Expand McHenry’s Power Amid Speakership Circus
Catch up on our live coverage here: Professional Antagonist Jordan Tests Whether He Can Bully His Way To The Speakership
Yesterday’s Most Read Story
Speaker Jordan’s Toxic Baggage — Josh Marshall