WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan, speaking in the House last year, angrily lamented the lack of bipartisanship after the Jan. He said it was a “slap in the face”. A bailiff that day was attacked by supporters of then-President Donald Trump.
Ryan is taking a more cautious tread when running for Senate in Ohio this year. During a recent debate, his Republican opponent, J.D. Vance, accused Ryan of having an “obsession” with rioting, and a Jan. 6 House committee investigation into Trump’s “A political hit is his job,” he said.
“I don’t want to talk to anyone more than anyone else,” Ryan retorted. “I want to talk about work. I want to talk about salary.
Ryan’s vigilance reflects the political divisions that remain nearly two years after the violent Capitol uprising spurred by Trump’s lie of the stolen 2020 presidential election. Republicans still erroneously believe the vote numbers were rigged against Trump, and Republican lawmakers say at least five people were killed, more than 100 police officers were injured, and lawmakers were forced to run for their lives. It repeatedly downplays violent attacks.
But some Democrats are reluctant to talk about the Jan. 6 race because they admit voters are mostly focused on wallet issues like rising gas prices and inflation. is. That dynamic creates a delicate balance for Democrats, especially those like Ryan running in Republican-leaning regions and battleground states.
“People see this as a thing of the past, but now they are dealing with inflation,” said Frank Lantz, a Republican pollster who conducted a focus group on the Jan. 6 attacks. . “Discussing what happened two years ago doesn’t tend to be high on the list,” says Luntz, if you can’t afford to feed your family or fill your tank with gas.
Still, some candidates are betting that voters will care.
Former Republican independent Evan McMullin, who runs against Utah Senator Mike Lee, has made the issue central to his campaign. At a debate earlier this month, McMullin said Lee was “a sinner” after it was revealed that the Republican senator had been texting with a White House aide before the riot about finding ways for Trump to reverse the defeat. He said he had committed a betrayal of the American Republic. Lee demanded an apology, but McMullin didn’t show one, pointing out that he voted alongside most senators to prove victory for Democrat Joe Biden.
McMullin appeared alongside Illinois Representative Adam Kinzinger (one of two Republicans on the Jan. 6 panel committee) at an event in Salt Lake City. Addressing an audience that included supporters holding placards that read “Country First,” the two men framed the midterm elections as a battle for democracy.
“If you’re Mike Lee, it’s still acceptable to say that Donald Trump is the future of the party and the leader of the party.
In a debate earlier this month, Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) defended her work as a member of the House Jan. 6 committee, professing “I have done or will do.” The most important thing,” he said. Beyond her military service. Her campaign later ran an ad showing footage of her opponent, Republican Jen Kigans, who refused to say whether Biden was elected fairly.
At the debate, Luria said, “If you side with the rioters, I’m not your candidate. If you want Donald J. Trump to be president again, I’m not your candidate.”
In Wisconsin, Democrat Brad Pfaff is battling Republican Derrick Van Oden, but will oppose Van Oden if he is found among Trump supporters outside the Capitol on January 6. I’m betting that more people will cast their votes. It shows an image of a veteran criticizing violence and Van Oden.
Another ad in Wisconsin targets Republican Senator Ron Johnson. He is running for re-election and has repeatedly downplayed the violence of the attacks. “Ron Johnson is making excuses for mobs trying to overthrow our government,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y.
Democratic pollster Celinda Lake found democracy problems prominent among Democratic voters, especially older women and suburban women who do not view Trump favorably. said to have been proven. “They talk about it as a voting issue,” Lake said.
Democratic pollster John Zogby agrees that threats to democracy are top of mind for many Democrats. But he has seen waning interest among the independent voters who could decide the most competitive elections.
“I don’t know if there will be more new voters for the Democratic Party,” says Zogby.
Some Democrats, like Ryan, the chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees Capitol Police, who spoke outspokenly about the riots while in Washington, spoke less about it over the course of the campaign. not.
New Hampshire Rep. Annie Kuster and Michigan Rep. Dan Kildee suffer post-traumatic stress after being trapped in the House Gallery on Jan. 6 when a mob tried to break down the gallery’s doors. talked about About attacks or threats to democracy — although both refer to it from time to time.
Kildee said police had shielded him in a debate against his opponent, Republican Paul Jange, when he spoke out about his opposition to efforts to deny funding to law enforcement that day. “People in uniform saved my life on January 6,” said Kildee. “I know what the police can do.”
Responding to a question about aid to Ukraine, Kuster said he believes the United States also needs to fight for democracy at home, saying, “Survivors of the January 6 riots in our Capitol, witnesses , victims.”
Vermont Congressman Peter Welch, who was locked up with Kuster, Kildee and others that day, chose a different strategy when running for the Senate in a liberal-leaning state. He often talks about his experiences.
Asked about the commission’s activities at a recent debate, Welch told the audience, “I was there,” a violent attack on the peaceful transition of power.
“The big issue in this election is that the American people will come together and fight to preserve the democracy that has served us so well,” Welch said.
His opponent, Republican Gerald Malloy, responded that while criminals should be held accountable, Americans have the right to assemble peacefully.
“I don’t call this a riot,” Malloy said.
Associated Press writer Sam Metz is in Salt Lake City. Tom Beaumont of Des Moines, Iowa. Scott Bauer of Madison, Wisconsin. Kathy McCormick of Concord, New Hampshire. Will Weissert and Hannah Fingerhut of Washington contributed to this report.
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