Suit seeks to bar Ryan Kelley from Michigan gubernatorial ballot after insurgency arrest
LANSING, Mich. (AP) – A suburban Detroit man sued Thursday to try to disqualify Republican Ryan Kelley from the Michigan gubernatorial race, saying he should be declared an insurgent whose votes won’t count.
LILY: Ryan Kelley arrested and charged over Jan. 6 riot
Kelley faces misdemeanor charges for his role in the riot at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021. The lawsuit says the West Michigan man’s participation renders him constitutionally ineligible American.
The 14th Amendment states that anyone who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the United States and has sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution cannot hold office in the state.
Kelley was sworn in in 2019 while serving as planning commissioner for Allendale Township, according to a lawsuit filed on behalf of Lee Estes.
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“Whether it was Ryan Kelley or anyone else who was illegally on Capitol Hill trying to subvert the will of the people, there must be accountability,” said Lonnie Scott of Progress Michigan, a Democratic group supporting the lawsuit.
The Michigan Republican Party noted that the lawsuit was brought by attorney Mark Brewer, a former leader of the state’s Democratic Party.
“Insurgency claims are laughable. … Yes, I’m on the ballot August 2. Yes, I’ll be on the ballot November 8,” Kelley said, predicting victory.
Kelley is one of five candidates in the August 2 Republican primary. The winner will face Governor Gretchen Whitmer in the fall.
Related: How to Register to Vote in Michigan
Kelley, a supporter of former President Donald Trump, acknowledged he was on Capitol Hill during the riot but said he did not enter. He pleaded not guilty to disruptive conduct, trespassing on public property and entering a restricted space without permission.
Polls showed he appeared to have a boost after his arrest in June.
The lawsuit seeks to have election officials ignore any votes for Kelley and tell voters they can vote again if they voted for him in the primary with an absentee ballot.
In May, an attempt to exclude Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from voting in Georgia under the 14th Amendment failed. She said she was unaware of any plans to storm the Capitol or disrupt the voter count with violence.