GOP Candidate Tells Voters To 'Show Up Armed'

A Republican candidate for Michigan state Senate encouraged voters to “show up armed” to protect GOP election observers in comments that were widely condemned and referred to the state’s attorney general’s office for investigation.

“The Second Amendment isn’t there for hunting rights or self-defense. It’s there to protect all of the other constitutional rights,” Mike Detmer said at an event in Livingston County on Saturday. “The right to bear arms tells the government the citizenry is armed.”

“The ideal thing is to do this peacefully, that’s ideal. But the American people, at some point in time, if we can’t change the tide, we need to be prepared to lock and load,” Detmer added. “So, you ask what can we do? Show up armed.”

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At the same event, Ryan Kelley, a Republican candidate for governor, encouraged poll workers to unplug tabulation machines.

“If you see something you don’t like happening with the machines, and you see something going on, unplug it from the wall,” Kelley said.

On Tuesday’s broadcast of CNN’s “New Day,” Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) confirmed that Detmer’s comments had been referred to the state attorney general for investigation. Benson suggested the candidate’s statements constituted a crime and were part of the broader election conspiracy lies that former President Donald Trump and his allies have pushed since his 2020 loss to President Joe Biden.

“I think that when you’re arguing, threatening to intimidate voters with actionable specifics that law enforcement absolutely needs to investigate to ensure, again, that we’re doing everything we can to protect American citizens when they go to the polls in any election from any threats or fear or harm,” Benson told anchor Brianna Keilar.

It was “pretty clear” that Detmer was encouraging armed conflict at polling stations, Benson added. “This call to arms … is taking place in a greater context … of attempted coups, of attempted efforts to overturn the will of the people.”

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.