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The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) chair, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., admitted Sunday that his decision to meddle in the Michigan Republican primary, in which the DCCC poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into boosting a pro-Donald Trump candidate, could raise some “difficult moral questions.”
Maloney was criticized by Republicans and Democrats alike after the DCCC spent $425,000 on an ad boosting Trump-endorsed John Gibbs, who ended up winning the primary against incumbent Republican Rep. Peter Meijer, who voted to impeach the former president after the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.
NBC News’ Chuck Todd asked Maloney on “Meet the Press” whether the decision to boost Gibbs because he is viewed as easier for Democrats to defeat in the midterm elections was putting “party over country.” Maloney said no, because he is confident Gibbs will lose to Democrat Hillary Scholten.
“Absolutely not did we put party over country,” Maloney responded. “The moral imperative right now, Mr. Todd, is to keep the dangerous MAGA Republicans who voted to overturn our election out of power.”
“We’re gonna win that seat,” he added. “The big loser in the Michigan primary was Kevin McCarthy and this MAGA crowd, and they know it.”
Todd challenged Maloney, asking, “If this man Mr. Gibbs wins, then have you not helped an election denier get into Congress?”
“Again, this danger didn’t start with Mr. Gibbs,” Maloney replied. “By every measure, he’s the weaker candidate. Don’t take my word for it. The Cook Political Report says it’s far more likely the Democrats are going to win that seat now. That’s doing our job.”
Todd pushed back, saying Americans hate both political parties because of “cynical moves like this.” Maloney argued that while there are moral questions surrounding his tactics, the ends justify the means.
“Chuck, my job is to win elections for the Democrats,” Maloney said. “I understand that there are difficult moral questions, philosophical questions about tactics. That’s always true in politics. You better believe it. But here’s the deal. We are more likely to win that seat. John Gibbs is a weak opponent. He’s an extremist with a vicious anti-choice record. He can’t string a set of policies together that will make sense for Western Michigan. We’re going to win that seat. And we believe that by keeping those dangerous people out of power, we address the larger moral imperative, and that’s our job.”
Maloney’s Democratic opponent, New York Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, in New York’s 17th Congressional District, blasted him last month for “wasting” donor money, calling the strategy “dangerous.”
“DCCC Chair Sean Patrick Maloney is wasting valuable Democratic resources by investing in far-right Republicans instead of funding Democratic candidates. This is a dangerous investment and asymmetric risk. Just a few years ago, many Democrats also wrongly believed Donald Trump winning the Republican primary would ensure a Democratic Presidential victory – and they were sorely mistaken,” Biaggi said.