Matt Braynard speaks during a candlelight vigil in support of the so-called "political prisoners" of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, at the Washington's Central Detention Facility where several are being held, Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Michael Cassidy, a Republican seeking to unseat incumbent Rep. Michael Guest in Mississippi’s 3rd Congressional District in the June 7 primary, has aligned himself with one of the nation’s most outspoken advocates of overthrowing the 2020 presidential election.

Matt Braynard, who has received broad national attention for his radical views on the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 Capitol attack that ensued, has received more than $13,000 as a consultant to the Cassidy campaign, according to the Federal Election Commission website.

Braynard, who worked about five months for the Donald Trump presidential campaign in 2016 before being fired, has been one of the principal proponents of the myth that if all the legal votes were counted in 2020, Trump would still be president of the United States.

And Braynard, according to multiple national reports, has profited handsomely from that position, with one national outlet describing his work as: “Forrest Gumping his way through the post-election Trump universe.”

His presence in Mississippi highlight the fact that for many Republican primary voters, the 2020 election is still an issue. Most of the congressional candidates who will be on the ballot in Tuesday’s Republican primary in Mississippi have also embraced, to some extent, the claim that voter irregularities or outright fraud cost Trump the election.

All three Republican incumbents — Guest in the 3rd District, Trent Kelly of the 1st District, Steven Palazzo of the 4th — voted to not certify the 2020 presidential election in several key swing states, as did U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith.

Mississippi’s senior U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker was the only Mississippi congressional Republican who voted to certify the election in every state.

Guest, who Cassidy seeks to unseat, was the only Republican in the state’s congressional delegation to vote in favor of creating the commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol — an attempt to stop the congressional vote certifying the presidential election. Guest, a former prosecutor in central Mississippi, said he voted to create the commission at the request of U.S. Capitol Police.

Cassidy, on his campaign website, has sharply criticized Guest’s vote for the Jan. 6 commission. Guest is considered a heavy favorite in Tuesday’s primary that also includes Republican Thomas Griffin.

Braynard has been active in defending many of the people arrested in the Jan. 6 riots, saying they were engaged only in peaceful protests.

He has been a paid consultant testifying on instances of alleged voter irregularities. Based on testimony, he was paid $150,000 to testify in Wisconsin about the 2020 presidential election and $40,000 for similar testimony in Arizona. Records indicate he also testified post-election in other key swing states — Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Braynard’s data was cited in the infamous lawsuit filed by embattled Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s attempting to throw out millions of votes in the swing states. The lawsuit, which maintained with no evidence that Biden had “less that one in a quadrillion” chance of winning several states, was joined by Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch and numerous Mississippi politicians. It was promptly dismissed by a federal judge.

The Texas Bar Association is currently investigating Paxton related to his filing of the lawsuit.


We want to hear from you!

By listening more intently and understanding the people who make up Mississippi’s communities, our reporters put a human face on how policy affects everyday Mississippians. We’re listening closely to our readers to help us continue to align our work with the needs and priorities of people from all across Mississippi. Please take a few minutes to tell us what’s on your mind by clicking the button below.


Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Bobby Harrison, Mississippi Today’s senior capitol reporter, covers politics, government and the Mississippi State Legislature. He also writes a weekly news analysis which is co-published in newspapers statewide. A native of Laurel, Bobby joined our team June 2018 after working for the North Mississippi Daily Journal in Tupelo since 1984. He is president of the Mississippi Capitol Press Corps Association and works with the Mississippi State University Stennis Institute to organize press luncheons. Bobby has a bachelor's in American Studies from the University of Southern Mississippi and has received multiple awards from the Mississippi Press Association, including the Bill Minor Best Investigative/In-depth Reporting and Best Commentary Column.