ADA, Mich. — Congressman Peter Meijer, R-Grand Rapids knew he would face some backlash after voting to impeach former President Donald Trump. following the violent attack on the Capitol; telling FOX 17 that day, " I feel terrible my heart breaks for those who are disappointed in the decision I made today, this was not a decision I made lightly."
Now the freshman congressman has at least one 2022 primary challenger and it’s someone he’s grown quite friendly with.
“We do have a personal friendship but the biggest thing about it, this is more to do with actual philosophy, to me I'm more of a blue-collar conservative,” Tom Norton told FOX 17 Sunday.
Tom Norton, an Afghanistan War veteran, former Sand Lake Village President and loud and proud Trump supporter is running to unseat Meijer.
Last August, he finished third in Michigan’s 3rd district Republican Primary and then after losing to Meijer, supported him in the general election.
“You can't go out there and constantly attack the base of your own party and think they're going to reward you. Not when you're a freshman,” Norton said.
Meijer’s impeachment vote is what ultimately made Norton want to throw his proverbial hat in the ring once again.
“The impeachment vote violated the President's due process of law…Anybody that votes like that, votes for that, should be removed from office and that should be done through the primary and electoral process,” he added.
Norton says he doesn’t condone the violence at the Capitol but says Trump shouldn’t be blamed for inciting it, adding that if that was the case, now-President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris should be blamed for violence stemming from racial justice protests last summer, “If the President is going to be accused of that standard the standards already been set by the far left.”
Norton says he’s spoken with some west Michiganders who feel betrayed by Meijer and he believes he a has legitimate shot to unseat him.
Since announcing his candidate, Norton says he’s had a steady stream of donors and believes he can carry that momentum into ’22.
“The universal message was they feel betrayed, and they don't feel like they're going to be able to trust him again. Restoring public trust is something that him and I personally agree on. But once you break that trust, how can you get it back when it's so egregious,” Norton said.
On Twitter Sunday, Rep Meijer said he campaigned on returning strong, stable and effective leadership adding that he was the, "only primary candidate willing to say where I disagreed with Trump and emphasized 'not a rubber stamp.'”
Not even remotely true. My motto: return “strong, stable, and effective leadership” like Gerald Ford, Paul Henry, & Vern Ehlers but hoped to build working relationship w/Trump. Was only primary candidate willing to say where I disagreed w/Trump + emphasized “not a rubber stamp.” https://t.co/SnyM8EKsBq— Peter Meijer (@VoteMeijer) January 24, 2021