Republican primary voters extend Jan. 6 candidates’ losing streak

When prosecutors charged Derrick Evans for Jan. 6 crimes, they didn’t struggle to make their case against the defendant — because Evans had already created overwhelming evidence to be used against him.

In fact, the West Virginia Republican livestreamed himself storming the U.S. Capitol, bragging about his actions, repeatedly referencing his own name aloud, and taunting police officers. Evans even wrote texts leaving little doubt that he suspected that his actions were illegal.

When his case went to trial, Evans pleaded guilty to a felony count of obstructing or impeding officers during a civil disorder and was sentenced to three months in prison. After serving time behind bars, he chose a nontraditional career path: Evans launched a Republican congressional campaign.

He did not, however, fare especially well. NBC News reported overnight:

Derrick Evans, a Jan. 6 rioter who admitted in court that he committed a felony crime against police officers when he stormed the Capitol while yelling “Derrick Evans is in the Capitol!” lost a Republican primary race against Rep. Carol Miller in West Virginia, NBC News projects.

It was not an especially close contest: With nearly all of the votes tallied, the incumbent congresswoman appears to have prevailed by more than 25 points.

This was not a campaign in which Evans was contrite, assuring local voters that he’d learned from his mistakes. On the contrary, the convicted felon argued that he should return to Capitol Hill — this time, as a congressman instead of an insurrectionist rioter — precisely because of his role in the Jan. 6 assault.

As NBC News report added, Evans branded himself as a “political prisoner” and spread conspiracy theories about the attack in which he took part. The article added, “Evans’ fundraising emails, with subject lines like ‘I did time in Prison for Trump,’ have highlighted his actions on Jan. 6 as a selling point for his candidacy. One ad even featured stock video of fake FBI agents busting through a window feet-first, when, in fact, video shows that Evans’ 2021 arrest was relatively mundane.”

Evidently, the pitch didn’t propel him to victory over an incumbent GOP lawmaker.

But just as notable is the larger pattern. Last year, some Jan. 6 participants were on the ballot in Virginia, and they lost. A year earlier, HuffPost reported, “Many Republican candidates who were directly linked to the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol lost their bids for office in Tuesday’s midterm elections, in a big repudiation of extremism and GOP efforts to torpedo democracy.”

To be sure, there are some related exceptions. Wisconsin’s Derrick Van Orden, a Trump loyalist who rallied outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, was elected as a Republican congressman in 2022. What’s more, there are some other Jan. 6 candidates on the ballot this year, and they might yet prevail.

But broadly speaking, those who’ve tried to parlay their Jan. 6 experiences into successful campaigns have failed. GOP primary voters in West Virginia’s 1st congressional district extended that losing streak yesterday.

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