Republican candidates’ comments spark outrage, GOP shuts up

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — A Michigan state Senate candidate doubles down on his and another Republican’s comments about arming pollwatchers. The comments were made during a campaign stop in Brighton over the weekend.

State Senate nominee Mike Detmer is not backing down despite backlash from Democrats and state leaders Monday night.

“If we can change the tide, (inaudible), we have to be ready to lock and load. so you ask what can we do? show up armed,” he said.

The statement quickly drew attention with Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes saying the comments encouraged threats against voters and election officials. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office is investigating. Nessel also posted on Twitter that committing such acts could result in prosecution.

Detmer is not the only candidate for hot water. Gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelley is also facing backlash for suggesting poll workers should shut down voting machines if they think they see anything suspicious about this year’s election.

It all happened at an event that was streamed live on gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelley’s Facebook campaign page. Kelley is also in hot water for a comment he made after encouraging his Republican supporters to register to work as polling sites to balance with Democrats.

“We want 50/50. If you see anything you don’t like happening with the machines, if you see anything happening, unplug it from the wall. Take control of the narrative,” Kelley says in the video.

In a statement sent to 6 News on Monday evening, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said tampering with voting machines and bringing a weapon to the polls are illegal. However, Detmer, who runs the 31st arrondissement, doubles in line. He posted several messages criticizing the backlash, one message addressed to the attorney general saying “come and take” in ancient Greek.

The Michigan GOP and the two candidates were repeatedly contacted for comment, but neither was available for comment.

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