Jan 6 rioter loses Republican primary for West Virginia congressional seat

A man convicted of entering the Capitol during the January 6 riot lost a Republican primary for the House of Representatives in West Virginia on Tuesday.

Derrick Evans was running against WV-1 incumbent Rep Carol Miller for a seat in the very same chamber he once joined a mob of enraged Trump supporters attempting to storm. He lost by more than 20,000 once all votes were counted.

Evans is no stranger to elected office. He previously served as a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates for a single year, before he would go on to be arrested two days after the bloody attack on the Capitol.

Derrick Evans in the West Virginia House of Delegates (West Virginia legislature)
Derrick Evans in the West Virginia House of Delegates (West Virginia legislature)

During the attack, rioters (including Evans) were seeking to halt the Senate’s process of counting votes in the Electoral College and certifying the result of the 2020 election.

They failed, though the votes were delayed for several hours as lawmakers sheltered in fear for their lives around the Capitol complex. Rioters chanted violent slogans, including “hang Mike Pence!”, as they raged against the Republicans and Democrats, including the vice president, they blamed for betraying them thanks to Donald Trump’s lies and conspiracies about massive voter fraud affecting the outcome of the election.

Evans livestreamed his role in the attack, where he was seen shouting at police officers who were desperately trying to hold rioters back.

“We’re in; there’s too many for them to do anything about it,” he said at one point, according to court documents. At another point, to remove all doubt from prosecutors minds, he screamed: “Derrick Evans is in the Capitol!”

He would go on to be sentenced to three months of prison in June of 2022, after agreeing to plead guilty to one felony count of obstructing or impeding officers during a period of civil disorder. His attorney told a judge that the prosecution of Evans had been a “humbling” experience for the defendant.

But the Republican would-be congressman went on to lean on that reputation of a January 6’er as he campaigned for Congress, and clearly that brand was appealing to at least a portion of the electorate.

Noel Fritsch, his campaign manager, told Mother Jones: “80 percent of the voting electorate thinks that whatever happened on January 6 was warranted, and 70 percent think the Feds did it.”

Aiding his effort to rewrite history, of course, is Donald Trump himself. The former president is campaigning for the White House under four seperate criminal prosecutions, including two related to his effort to overturn the election based on lies and conspiracies. As he has criscrossed the country, he has openly expressed his support for Americans convicted of crimes related to January 6 and referred to them — even those convicted of assaulting police — as “hostages”.

Evans’ failure to crack even 40 percent in a district considered to be a GOP bastion is a sign, however, that even so-called “Trump territory” has its limits when it comes to selecting members of Congress.