By Holmes Lybrand and Hannah Rabinowitz, CNN
A GOP Michigan gubernatorial candidate, Ryan Kelley, was arrested Thursday on misdemeanor charges related to his involvement in the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, according to the Justice Department.
“Ryan Kelley, 40, of Allendale, Michigan, was arrested this morning on misdemeanor charges stemming from the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol breach. He was arrested in Allendale. Mr. Kelley is to make his initial appearance this afternoon in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan,” said Bill Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in the District of Columbia.
The Detroit FBI field office confirmed Kelley’s arrest and said his home was searched on Thursday morning.
“I can confirm FBI agents from Grand Rapids office executed an arrest and search warrant at Mr. Kelley’s residence in Allendale, MI. At this time, I cannot provide any information on the nature of the charges against Mr. Kelley, although I expect additional information to be forthcoming,” Mara Schneider, a public affairs officer with the FBI’s Detroit’s office, said in a written statement.
CNN has reached out to Kelley’s campaign.
In 2020, Kelley, a real estate broker, began leading rallies against Covid lockdowns and mandates in Michigan, according to his website He said he led rallies against the Covid restrictions at the state capital in Lansing and in Grand Rapids.
The gubernatorial candidate added that he “guarded a Civil War Statue in his hometown of Allendale” during protests in the summer of 2020.
A crowded field of Republicans is jockeying to face Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in what will be one of the nation’s most closely watched campaigns this fall.
Kelley’s arrest adds another twist to an already chaotic Republican primary fight. It comes after the Michigan Court of Appeals earlier this month rejected efforts by two Republican candidates for governor to have their names placed on the August primary ballot.
The candidates, businessman Perry Johnson and financial adviser Michael Markey, filed lawsuits after Michigan’s board of canvassers deadlocked last month, leaving in place a decision by the state’s bureau of elections that five gubernatorial candidates did not have enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.
The court’s unanimous decisions marked a major setback for the affected candidates, including former Detroit Police chief James Craig, who have filed legal challenges in an effort to revive their campaigns. Kelley was not among the candidates affected by the signature issue.
The signature issue had scrambled the race for governor in Michigan, just two months before the primary in August.
This story has been updated with additional information.
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CNN’s Sara Murray and Rachel Janfaza contributed to this report.