WASHINGTON — The Republican State Leadership Committee named far-right conspiracy-spreading legislators to its executive board: Pennsylvania House Speaker Bryan Cutler, Arizona Senate President Pro Tempore Vince Leach, Louisiana Senate Majority Leader Sharon Hewitt, and Michigan Senate Leader Mike Shirkey.
Representative Cutler signed on to a letter urging Congress to overturn Pennsylvania’s electoral votes without any basis, and Senator Leach helped spread messages related to the #stopthesteal conspiracy that inspired the insurrection on January 6th. Senator Hewitt, the chairwoman of the RSLC committee, also signed a letter urging Louisiana’s congressional delegation to reject electoral votes from Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
But Senator Mike Shirkey outshines the other three when it comes to extremism. Shirkey has long cultivated ties with radical, anti-government militia groups in Michigan, some of which were connected to last year’s plot to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer. He also called the riots on January 6th a “hoax” and insinuated that Mitch McConnell may have been responsible for the “staged” attack. To top it off, his office released a tepid apology that he immediately disavowed on a hot mic. Shirkey’s antics have won the condemnation of the top Republican in the Michigan House as well as the seior editor at Crain’s Detroit Business, who called on Michigan business leaders to stop supporting Michigan’s Senate Republicans while he holds office. Shirkey also continues to spread the false claim that dead people voted in the 2020 election, which has been repeatedly debunked.
“These legislators have entertained extremist movements and spread dangerous conspiracy theories about the election,” said Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee President Jessica Post. “Anyone that cares about our democracy should think twice before working with the RSLC and elevating these far-right, anti-democratic lawmakers. If the RSLC and national Republicans don’t condemn their extremist positions and actually give them seats on their executive committee, then we can only assume that they endorse them.”