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Former West Virginia lawmaker jailed for Jan. 6 riot is running for Congress

West Virginia Delegate Derrick Evans exits the Sidney L. Christie U.S. Courthouse and Federal Building after being arraigned on federal charges Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, in Huntington, West Virginia. (Sholten Singer/AP)

Former West Virginia lawmaker jailed for Jan. 6 riot is running for Congress

Misty Severi

January 06, 01:04 PM January 06, 01:04 PM

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Former West Virginia state lawmaker Derrick Evans, who spent three months in prison for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection, announced a bid for Congress on the second anniversary of the riot.

Evans made the announcement in a video he posted to social media, setting up a challenge to incumbent Rep. Carol Miller (R-WV) in the 2024 Republican primary.

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“I knew I was put on this Earth to serve the people of West Virginia,” Evans said in his announcement video. “One month ago, I came to you with my story. I launched an exploratory committee for Congress. I’m thrilled to say that I, Derrick Evans, am officially running for a seat in the United States House of Representatives.”

Evans told the Washington Examiner that he selected Jan. 6 to announce his candidacy because it was a day that changed the country.

“It changed our lives forever, you know, and then last Jan. 6, I was facing an upcoming prison sentence and leaving my family. It was a day of reflection,” Evans said in a phone interview. “And I thought it was good for my personal standpoint, today, to turn around and now make this day a positive, forward-looking to the future, you know, of this country and a political career.”

Evans claimed that Jan. 6 was a day to “celebrate” but was also a day of “personal reflection” last year as he prepared to serve the three-month prison sentence he received from D.C. District Judge Royce Lamberth. Evans was considered a more prominent and important protester at the time of the insurrection because he had recently been elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates. During the riot, Evans livestreamed himself at the Capitol on Facebook.

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The former lawmaker said that the same purpose that brought him to Washington, D.C., two years ago was the reason he was running for Congress now — protecting democracy. Evans also listed border security, energy independence, and election integrity as key parts of his platform.

Evans told the Washington Examiner that he was an “America First” conservative who comes from “Trump country” and that people in his district wanted a firebrand candidate who would help keep the federal government off their backs.

“The people in southern West Virginia are like most conservatives across rural America, they still live their lives and want to be left alone to raise their family, start their businesses, and work through jobs,” Evans said. “Unfortunately, what we’re seeing right now is just the encroachment of the federal government, you know, coming into rural America and trying to tell us how to live our lives, and, quite frankly, the feedback I’ve received is that people in West Virginia are hungry and thirsty for a true, not only true conservative but a firebrand candidate, who is going to be front and center in the national media, beating the drum for freedom and supporting their values.”

Evans was first elected to state Congress in 2020 and became the first Republican to take the seat in 98 years, according to WTRF. However, he only served as a state lawmaker for 40 days before the insurrection, in which thousands of supporters of former President Donald Trump unlawfully attempted to stop the certification of the results of the 2020 presidential election.

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