Updated with comment from Slotkin, 2:41 p.m., 6/23/20
One of the GOP challengers to U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly), Howell Republican Mike Detmer, said at a recent rally that “this whole race nonsense” is “fake.”
Detmer is on video speaking to the crowd gathered for an “American Patriot Rally” in front of the state Capitol Thursday, first reported by the Detroit News. The rally was met with a simultaneous anti-police brutality counterprotest by those seeking justice for George Floyd, a Black man who died in Minneapolis police custody after an officer knelt on his neck for nearly 10 minutes.
“I want to just address this whole race nonsense. It is fake; it is fake,” Detmer said to the crowd. “Here’s the reality: If you are someone of faith, you understand that all lives matter, and it was decided by the blood of Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago.”
Detmer also made disparaging remarks about protesters, denounced the idea of defunding the police, and suggested that systemic racism in America is not as bad as Democrats say it is.
Slotkin denounced Detmer’s remarks in an emailed statement Tuesday.
“Mr. Detmer’s comments are ignorant and out of step with the 8th District. Not one of the community leaders or law enforcement officials I have talked to the last four weeks thinks that racism is ‘nonsense’ or ‘fake,'” Slotkin said.*
Detmer is a real estate manager and one of four Republicans running in the Aug. 4 primary on President Trump-esque platforms. The winner will take on Slotkin in the 8th U.S. House District representing Livingston, Ingham and Oakland counties.
The other candidates are: Alan Hoover, a former U.S. Marine; Paul Junge, a former TV anchor and former Trump administration immigration official; and Kristina Lyke, an attorney in East Lansing. State Board of Education member Nikki Snyder had been Slotkin’s fifth Republican challenger before being disqualified by the Michigan Board of State Canvassers in late May.
It’s not the first time Detmer has made news by attending a right-wing rally. In April, he posted a photo with members of the Proud Boys, a self-described western chauvinist group. He also wrote a Facebook post defending the organization. Despite emphasizing that he and his campaign are not associated with the group, Detmer argued that the Proud Boys aim to protect American freedoms and should not be labeled as a racist hate group.