GOP Candidate for Michigan Governor Rises in Poll After Arrest for Alleged Involvement in Capitol Riot

ryan kelley
Ryan Kelley at April 2020 Michigan rally demanding the repeal of COVID-19 safeguards.Getty

Ryan Kelley was arrested earlier this month on four federal charges related to the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol insurgency.

New Michigan poll numbers show a Republican candidate for governor appears to be more popular after he was arrested by the FBI on federal charges related to the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riots.

Ryan Kelley was taken into custody earlier this month at his Allendale home and charged with four misdemeanors: willfully damaging U.S. property, entering restricted grounds, disorderly conduct on restricted grounds and engaging in an act of physical violence toward a person or property on restricted grounds.

He was released on his own recognizance. Last week, a federal judge ordered Kelley to surrender his guns, over the objections of Kelley's attorney who argued the candidate needed to carry a weapon for his own protection. Kelley was also ordered to not leave the state.

Nonetheless, a new GOP poll shows him leading a field of five candidates. The survey, conducted by the Detroit Free Press and research firm EPIC-MRA showed Kelley has the highest support, with 17% of Republicans saying he is their favorite candidate.

The former executive of the Michigan Republican Party told People magazine that Kelley's increased popularity was an indication of how "dangerous" state party members have become.

"They are all in an alternate-reality bubble," said Jeff Timmer. "I'm old enough to remember when being arrested for treason by the FBI was a bad thing for a candidate and not something that would catapult someone to the stratosphere."

The GOP candidates, Timmer said, are all "groveling for Trump's attention and endorsement."

The new poll has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4.9 percentage points and showed that 45% of Republicans are undecided, meaning there are significant chances Kelley will not remain the frontrunner.

The GOP primary is scheduled for Aug. 2. The winner will face incumbent Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in the November general election.

Whitmer had been on the hit list of Wisconsin man who died earlier this month after fatally shooting a judge and then turning the gun on himself, police said. 

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