LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Lawmakers and officials are reacting to the arrest of Republican gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelley.

Kelley was arrested on Thursday for his alleged participation in the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

The 40-year-old was charged with misdemeanors in federal court for ” knowingly entering or remaining on the U.S. Capitol or its grounds without authority, disorderly and disruptive conduct in that space, knowingly engaging in any physical violence against persons or property on U.S. Capitol grounds and willfully injuring or attacking property of the United States,” court documents said.

According to the FBI, images show Kelley in the pro-Trump mob, pushing past Capitol Police.

“At approximately 2:00 p.m., KELLEY climbed onto and stood on an architectural feature next to the North West stairs and indicated by waving his hand that the crowd behind him should move towards the stairs leading into the U.C. Capitol building,” an FBI document reads.

Now, officials in Michigan politics are beginning to respond.

Kelley’s campaign Facebook page posted two words in response to his arrest. “Political Prisoner.”

The MIGOP echoed a similar sentiment in their statement.

“Democrats are weaponizing our justice system in an unprecedented way against their political opponents. We are not a third world nation. Law and order are the bedrock of our democracy, but justice is not served when it is driven by a political agenda. Families and children are now becoming victims of political theater meant to distract from the failures of Democrat policy. It’s shameful and must end,” said MIGOP Chairman Ambassador Ron Weiser.

Common Cause Michigan, a voting rights advocacy group, also released a statement on Kelley’s arrest.

Today, Mr. Kelley was arrested for his ties to the attacks on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.  

We believe that Mr. Kelley’s arrest is one that highlights a well-known truth: that Jan. 6 was an insurrection, not legitimate political discourse. The actions made by Mr. Kelley and other insurrectionists do not align with the values of Michiganders who believe in the freedom to vote without the threat of violence or intimidation. His and others’ behavior that day led to several deaths and many more injuries, and he must be held accountable. 

Furthermore, Mr. Kelley’s actions point to an even greater attack on our democracy. It has long been documented that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election — including in the state of Michigan — and that 2020 had the most secure elections to date. After countless audits, the propagation of the Big Lie by Kelley and other Trump-endorsed candidates is an attempt to undermine the will of the people. We must take those threats seriously and be committed to protecting democracy and voting rights. 

Common Cause Michigan

The Michigan Democratic Party had some harsh words for Kelley.

“Just days after their field was cut in half due to corruption and mass fraud, Republican gubernatorial candidates’ callous disregard for the principles of democracy was on full display again today as Ryan Kelley was taken into custody by the FBI following his participation in the January 6th insurrection. Tudor Dixon, Garrett Soldano, Kevin Rinke, and Ralph Rebandt have equally shouldered the same baseless lies about 2020 that spurred Ryan Kelley to storm the capital in search of war. Michiganders won’t forget the role they played in dismantling public trust in democracy.”


“We’ve known for a long time that Ryan Kelley is a menace to society,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan in a press release. “It’s no secret that the Michigan GOP and I don’t agree on much, but Ryan Kelley’s penchant for extremism and reckless disregard for the truth are truly beyond the pale. The insurrection on January 6 was a direct attack on our nation and an attempt to overturn the will of the people, and anyone involved in the January 6 violence at the Capitol or the surrounding efforts to overturn the will of voters in the 2020 election, must be held accountable. I look forward to seeing the results of this investigation, and I’ll be interested to see if federal charges are able to earn Kelley the ‘coveted’ Trump endorsement.”