You may have seen Joey Gibson leading pro-Trump rallies in Seattle, Portland, and other major cities. Or, you may have seen his online videos for his right-wing group Patriot Prayer. Now, he wants you to see him in Washington DC.
“God started showing me things,” Gibson said to a crowd of supporters in his hometown of Vancouver, Washington. “Like little things here and there. And it kept coming back to Maria Cantwell, Maria Cantwell, Maria Cantwell. And so that’s when I decided that I am going to run for the United States Senate!”
“God kept mentioning Maria Cantwell,” KIRO Radio’s John Curley noted. “Ugh.”
Gibson is planning to run against Senator Maria Cantwell as a Republican. In a video of his announcement, he says that he knows it will take a miracle for him to win against “the machine.”
“But here’s the thing, miracles happen in this country every single day,” he said.
While Gibson may have garnered support and viral success online, that doesn’t always transfer into the real world.
“He is the first-declared Republican candidate for Maria Cantwell’s seat,” Tom Tangney said. “There is a good chance he will have to run against another Republican or two, or three, or seven. So right now, to say he’s up against Maria Cantwell is to put the cart before the horse. He has to win the Republican nomination.”
Tom points out that Gibson can be quite surprising on the issues. He’s a Republican and often puts his Christian religion out in front of what he does. But he is pro-gay marriage; pro-term limits; pro-decriminalization of marijuana; and he supports a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants.
“When he first came to light, he was sort of seen as a right-wing ideologue, taking on anti-fascists,” Tom said. “But a lot of those stances are pretty liberal for a Republican.”
“So he’s a Libertarian,” Curley responded. “… he would probably align with most people. But most people don’t want to be considered a Republican.”
Joey Gibson and Republicans
Taking on a heavyweight Democrat like Cantwell may require a miracle, but getting Republican support will take another one.
“Do the Republicans want Joey Gibson to be the face of the Republican Party?” Tom said. “Remember, the Republican Party is in some trouble. No other Republican is running in a particular state, so they are allowing a proto-Nazi to run as the Republican. At this point, do you think Joey Gibson is a fair and good representation of an outsider Republican that wouldn’t be an embarrassment to the party?”
Whether or not Gibson’s antics are appealing to Republicans may not matter, Curley said.
“Certain races, you will not get support from the national party,” Curley said. “You won’t get the Republican Party to give you money because they see no need to spend the money because he’s going down in flames. So you won’t get any outside support. He will get some support along the way. Some will put money down as a protest vote to Maria Cantwell.”
Curley said it cost Cantwell $6 a vote to earn her Senate seat. For Gibson, it will be more like $30-40, he estimates.
“It’s the same thing with Diane Feinstein in California,” Curley said. “She does not get the nod because she’s not liberal enough … that’s the Democratic Party out of California; to put somebody up to be radical left. Is Joey Gibson radical, right? No. He’s leading with this whole religious perspective. And I’m sure some of this stuff is grist for the mill.”