Guest, who is seeking his third term, faced the main challenge from Michael Cassidy, a former Navy pilot, who centered his campaign around the idea that Guest wasn’t conservative enough for the dark red Mississippi. Cassidy narrowly beat Guest in Tuesday’s primary, but neither got more than 50% of the vote, forcing them to a June 28 runoff.
Cassidy is among several Republicans who have won primary elections this year and have continued to spread false claims that the 2020 election results were stolen from former President Donald Trump. In Ohio, JR Majewski, who attended the Jan. 6 Stop the Steal rally and has ties to the QAnon conspiracy theory, beat three other Republicans in a congressional primary. In Pennsylvania, Doug Mastriano, who also attended the rally of Holocaust deniers on the National Mall, won the state’s gubernatorial primary.
Guest was among 147 Republicans who, after the Jan. 6 attack, voted against certifying President Biden’s victory. A month later, he signed an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit challenging the 2020 results. More recently, he co-sponsored the so-called “Women’s Bill of Rights” resolution to define “sex like a person’s biological sex — an attempt to weaken the rights of transgender women — which he says is needed as “the radical left continues to push a woke ideology on women.”
But for Cassidy, Guest’s decision to join 34 other House Republicans in establishing a special commission to examine the activities surrounding the Jan. 6 Capitol attack was an act of unforgivable disloyalty.
Neither Cassidy nor Guest immediately responded to requests for comment on their run.
In a local news interview a week ago, Cassidy attacked Guest for his support of the Jan. 6 committee, which begins its public hearings on Thursday. “This is the cornerstone of Trump’s and the Republican Party’s Democratic witch hunt. The media and the Democrats have worked in cahoots with each other, so blinded by the hatred of Trump,” he told Columbian-Progress.
Former Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon interviewed Cassidy on his War Room radio show on Wednesday, which is a popular platform for Trump’s Make America Great Again movement. The candidates who appear on Bannon’s show are loyal to Trump and believe the 2020 election was stolen from him. In return for this loyalty, Bannon introduces them to his millions of radio listeners, which can also translate to new donors.
“That Mr. Guest voted for the commission on January 6, when people found out, they were furious if they didn’t already know. And so it was actually a pretty easy choice once you told people about your congressman,” Cassidy told Bannon. “He continues to defend that vote to this day…he said nothing about the political prisoners being held for being on Capitol Hill that day.”
Trump has endorsed dozens of candidates at all levels of government this year, but Cassidy did not receive the former president’s coveted endorsement ahead of the primary.
Congressional candidates aren’t the only candidates winning Republican primaries across the country. So far, Republican voters in two states have chosen candidates to be their nominees for secretary of state who espouse the lies about stealing the election. If elected, these roles would give them direct control of their state’s elections. Audrey Trujillo, who ran unopposed in the New Mexico primary on Tuesday, voiced her baseless criticism of the 2020 results. Last month, Michigan’s Republican Party voted to make Kristina Karamo their nominee – l state has no primary elections for the lower – for secretary of state. Karamo has also spread unsubstantiated allegations of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.
Not all Republicans who stood up to Trump lost their elections. On Tuesday, South Dakota Rep. Dusty Johnson, who voted to both certify Biden’s election victory and create the Jan. 6 committee, rebuffed a primary challenge.
Most Republican candidates have tried to prove their loyalty to Trump, whether or not they have his support. A guest pinned a tweet from 2020 to the top of his Twitter feed thanking Trump for his endorsement, which at a quick glance could be mistaken for current support.