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Robert Regan, tagged ‘perhaps worst candidate ever,’ loses House bid to Dem

Robert Regan, Carol Glanville
GOP House candidate Robert Regan’s coarse and conspiratorial comments on rape, QAnon and other topics tested, and apparently exceeded, the boundaries of conservative support. He was defeated Tuesday by Democrat Carol Glanville. (Courtesy photos)

Democrat Carol Glanville pulled off an upset in a conservative West Michigan state House election Tuesday, defeating a controversial Republican candidate who gained national noteriety for remarks about rape and conspiracy theories related to QAnon and Jews.

Carol Glanville, a Walker city commissioner, defeated Robert "RJ" Regan by getting 7,288 votes to Regan's 5,697 votes in a special election to fill the 74th district seat, according to unofficial election results from the Kent County Clerk's office.

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“West Michigan values of integrity, decency and care for the common good won tonight,” Glanville said in a statement Tuesday night. “We are united in fundamental ways, and I will take our values and concerns to the Capitol to affect positive change.” 

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Regan had been favored to win the reliably Republican district after scoring an upset win in a special primary election. But he was scorned by Democrats and Republicans alike for a series of offensive comments, most notably a remark during a livestream hosted by a conservative group that he told his daughters, “if rape is inevitable, you should just lie back and enjoy it.” 

Many Republicans had disavowed Regan ahead of the election, with some putting their hopes — and dollars — into write-in candidate Mike Milanowski. The county reported 1,117 write-in votes, although it’s unclear at this point how many of those went to Milanowski. 

Regan responded to the loss on social media Wednesday, noting he’s regrouping and putting together a campaign for the August primary to represent the region next term. 

“One thing is now clear. The RINO Republican establishment would rather have a Democrat than an America First Republican like me in office,” he wrote.

The election was held to fill the remainder of former state Rep. Mark Huizinga’s term, who vacated the seat after his election to the state Senate last fall. 

Regan — who according to his campaign website is an entrepreneur and has worked in banking, manufacturing and recruiting — unsuccessfully run for office in 2014, 2018 and 2020, when he made national news because one of his daughters urged voters to oppose him.

In addition to the rape comments, Regan faced backlash for his other online activity. At one point, he called the Ukraine war a “fake war just like the fake pandemic” and shared a meme claiming that feminism is “a Jewish program to degrade and subjugate white men.” 

In other past social media posts, Regan shared conspiracy theories claiming that Jewish people were behind the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks and presidential assassinations and control the banks as well as the media. 

In one post, Regan affixed his campaign logo and website address to a far-right video, “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Genocide.” The song is a parody of the Christmas classic, questions the COVID pandemic and ends with photos of the nation’s top medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci and others next to nooses and the line “One day, we’ll see these bastards swing.”

In another video posted in February 2021, Regan explained and endorsed QAnon, a wide-ranging conspiracy theory alleging world governments are controlled by a shadowy cabal of pedophiles who worked to undermine Trump and steal the 2020 election. 

"What it's doing is it's exposing the depth and breadth of the corruption that's been going on in the government, not just financial corruption by the (child sex) trafficking that's been going on and the drugs and the murders," Regan said. "I just keep getting encouraged each week that more and more and more of this is in fact true."

Regan previously told Bridge Michigan that “my words aren’t as smooth and polished as the politicians are because I’m not a politician. I’m working on it.”

In a statement touting other special election victories, the House Republican Campaign Committee acknowledged Glanville's victory in the district, which covers Walker, Grandville, Rockford and several adjacent townships, noting the caucus "chose not to participate in the race."

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Other Republicans set their sights on the August primary, expressing confidence that the party could win back representation in the region next term with a different candidate on the ticket. 

“We couldn’t support Regan & it’s clear voters couldn’t either,” Tori Sachs, executive director of the Michigan Freedom Fund, which champions conservative policies, wrote on Twitter. “The GOP can & will pick this seat back up in November if a credible candidate is nominated in August.”

Gus Portela, communications director for the Michigan Republican Party, wrote on Twitter that Regan was “possibly the worst candidate I’ve ever seen” and said there was no room in the party for someone advocating for violence against women. 

The 74th district was one of four special state House elections held Tuesday to fill vacancies through the end of the year. Republicans Mike Harris and Terence Mekoski scored victories in the 36th and 43rd House districts, respectively, and Democratic candidate Jeffery Pepper won election in the 15th House District.

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