canada africa partner reservation Ex-U.S. Capitol Police Officer, Jan. 6 Rioters’ Campaign in Front of Congress Illustrates a Divided America

Ex-U.S. Capitol Police Officer, Jan. 6 Rioters’ Campaign in Front of Congress Illustrates a Divided America

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By Richard Cowan

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (Reuters) – A former U.S. Capitol police officer who defended lawmakers during the Jan. 6, 2021 attack and a man who served time in prison for joining the mob are expected to go to trial next year. to Congress if they succeed in the primaries later this month.

Their campaigns for the respective Democratic and Republican nominations offer a split-screen look at a divided nation, more than three years after the siege by Donald Trump supporters trying to overturn his election defeat.

The pair – Democrat Harry Dunn in Maryland and Republican Derrick Evans in West Virginia – are seeking their parties’ nominations in heavily partisan districts, meaning both could serve together in the House of Representatives next year if they run for office starting May 14. win individual matches. .

Dunn, 40, says he got into politics because of what he experienced on Jan. 6, which he says fueled his concerns about the stability of American democracy.

When Dunn, who is Black, was called to testify in the investigation into the attack, he described the way rioters taunted him with racial slurs as they tried to topple the Democratic Party. President Joe Biden‘s election.

“Going forward, it is imperative for us who believe in democracy, who believe in the Constitution, to fight for it,” Dunn told Reuters in an interview Thursday near his campaign headquarters in Ellicott City, Maryland.

About 300 miles west in West Virginia, Evans, 36, is trying to unseat Republican U.S. Rep. Carol Miller, one of 139 Republicans in the House of Representatives.

Evans, a former teacher who briefly served in the state Legislature, was among the crowd that illegally entered the Capitol on Jan. 6.

He served three months in jail after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of “obstructing, impeding or disrupting law enforcement during a civil disorder.”

Dunn and Evans both cite the need to defend the U.S. Constitution at a time they say poses grave danger to the U.S

That’s where their similarities end.

PARTING LINE

Larry Sabatohead of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, called Jan. 6 “a dividing line that has made our polarization much worse.”

“It’s no surprise that candidates with a direct connection to such an important event were able to parlay their involvement into something else on the public stage,” Sabato said.

If elected, Dunn says, he would like to pass legislation to strengthen voter protections, protect election workers from harassment and reduce the influence of corporate campaign contributions.

Reuters asked Dunn if he would be willing to work with Evans on legislative compromises if they were both elected.

“Absolutely,” he replied. “We have to realize that it is all about compromise. Any time one individual gets everything he wants, that is no longer a democracy. That doesn’t work for the American people.”

When asked the same question in a telephone interview, Evans responded, “I don’t run to make friends. I’m not about to play pie politics. I’m working to kick in the front door and expose the corruption in DC.”

Dunn, who had raised $3.7 million as of March 30, leads in campaign contributions in a crowded field of 22 candidates and has received the endorsement of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. For Evans’ one-on-one fight against incumbent Miller, he has raised $660,745 so far, compared to her $921,369.

COMPETING AGENDAS

According to court documents, in the lead-up to January 6, Evans expressed excitement on social media about a “wild” rally at the Capitol and cheered on the rioters as they entered the building.

Now he’s presenting that foray as a sign of courage, campaigning on issues that are strong in the district that includes the entire southern part of the Trump-loving state.

Evans wants Trump’s border wall built, calling his opponent “an undocumented Democrat” for her votes on a number of bipartisan bills and term limits “that these assholes in Congress will never vote for.”

Miller’s chief of staff, Matthew Donnellan, responded to Evans’ characterization, writing in an email: “Carol Miller was just endorsed by unequivocally conservative Congressman Jim Jordan, the Republican Jewish Coalition, and the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List for her staunch conservative Republican values.”

Donnellan also noted that Evans initially ran for a seat in the West Virginia Legislature in 2016 as a Democrat.

“I stood with President Trump that day and made a great sacrifice,” Evans said, emphasizing that he did not engage in violence at the Capitol, unlike hundreds of his fellow protesters.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Scott Malone and Daniel Wallis)