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Michigan Republican defeated after ‘lie back and enjoy it’ talk

For the most part, yesterday’s primaries and special elections went largely according to plan. There was, however, one notable exception.


For the most part, yesterday’s primaries and special elections went largely according to plan. There was, however, one notable exception.

In terms of the top-of-the-ballot contests in Ohio and Indiana, the results were almost entirely in line with expectations. In the Buckeye State’s U.S. Senate race, for example, Republican J.D. Vance, buoyed by Donald Trump’s endorsement, won his exceedingly expensive primary, and he’ll face Rep. Tim Ryan, who easily won the Democratic contest, in the fall.

In the state’s gubernatorial race, Gov. Mike DeWine dispatched his Republican challengers — though the incumbent didn’t quite reach the 50 percent threshold in the multi-candidate race — and he’ll face former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, who won the Democratic nomination.

In the most closely watched congressional primary, Rep. Shontel Brown narrowly defeated former state Sen. Nina Turner in their special election last year, but the incumbent Democratic congresswoman cruised to a landslide victory over Turner yesterday.

But as it turns out, perhaps the most notable election yesterday wasn’t one of the contests I was keeping an eye on. The Detroit Free Press reported:

In an upset win Tuesday, Democrat Carol Glanville defeated Republican Robert “RJ” Regan in a special election for a Michigan House seat that had only ever been held by a Republican. Results remain unofficial, but with all precincts in the district reporting, Glanville led Regan by more than 1,500 votes as of 10:30 p.m. She topped 51% of the total votes cast; Regan garnered 40% and 7.9% went to write-ins.

On the surface, this race was interesting because it offered such an unusual result: Michigan’s state House’s 74th District, in the Grand Rapids area, is a Republican stronghold. According to the Free Press’ report, no Democrat has ever represented this district in the state legislature.

And yet, Glanville appears to have prevailed over the GOP nominee by double digits. That, in and of itself, is enough to raise eyebrows, especially given the fact that the prevailing political winds are at the Republicans’ backs.

But what makes this even more notable is why the GOP candidate lost this seemingly unlosable race. Who’s Robert “RJ” Regan? I’m glad you asked. The Washington Post reported two months ago:

A Republican candidate favored to win a seat in the Michigan House said he tells his daughters to “just lie back and enjoy it” if raped, as he attempted to make an analogy about abandoning efforts to decertify the results of the 2020 election. Robert Regan, who is running to represent Michigan’s District 74 in the state legislature, made the comments during a Facebook live stream Sunday.

Regan’s rhetorical record also includes claims that feminism is a “Jewish program to degrade and subjugate white men,” and his apparent belief that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is a “fake war just like the fake pandemic.”

The Detroit Free Press reported soon after that Michigan GOP leaders denounced Regan’s rhetoric, but state Republican Party Chairman Ron Weiser and others affiliated with the party did not call on Regan to withdraw from the special state House election.

The assumption was that the district was so tilted in the GOP’s favor that Regan would simply win anyway. But he, like some other Republicans known for making indefensible comments about rape, lost.