At least two people who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 are running for Congress in 2024. A victory for either would return them to the building they helped desecrate as members of an insurrectionist mob.
Jacob Chansley, who branded himself as the “QAnon Shaman,” is best known as the conspiracy theorist in a fur hat with horns during the riot who whined about his food options in jail after he was convicted of a felony count of obstructing an official proceeding.
Chansley has filed paperwork to run for the House as a Libertarian in Arizona’s 8th District. For background, I recently explained how far-right Rep. Debbie Lesko’s decision not to run for re-election in the solidly red district has turned the race into a “Mr. MAGA pageant.”
And in Georgia, another Jan. 6 participant, Chuck Hand, has announced that he’s running for the seat held by Rep. Sanford Bishop, a Democrat. Hand and his wife, who’s the Republican Party chair of Taylor County in Georgia, were both sentenced to 20 days in jail after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of illegally demonstrating in the Capitol.
It seems like both candidates could face legal challenges. Lawsuits citing the 14th Amendment and Jan. 6 have thus far failed to keep former President Donald Trump and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., off the ballot. But a county commissioner in New Mexico was removed from his position — under the 14th Amendment’s insurrectionist clause — after he was convicted of illegally entering the U.S. Capitol grounds.
Chansley, who told “60 Minutes” that he did not regret his loyalty to Trump, ultimately said he had been wrong to enter the Capitol, calling his behavior “indefensible.” Hand, on the other hand, is reportedly downplaying his actions while campaigning.
But to me, the fact that Chansley and Hand apparently feel free to run for office despite their open demonstration against democracy speaks to a deep and widespread moral failing. It says there are pockets of America that are anemic to democracy and — perhaps more dangerously — immune to shame.