- A man accused of assaulting officers during the Capitol attack is running for office in Texas.
- Mark Middleton and his wife, Jalise, face a slate of federal charges connected to the insurrection.
- The Texas Republican Party accepted Middleton’s candidacy, according to the secretary of state’s website.
A Texas man accused of assaulting police officers during the Capitol riot isn’t letting a slate of pending federal charges stop him from making a grab at political power.
Mark Middleton, of Forestburg, is running for a seat in the Texas State House just months after he and his wife were indicted on multiple charges stemming from their alleged participation in the January 6 insurrection. Federal prosecutors say Middleton and his wife, Jalise, assaulted two DC police officers during the siege and later boasted about being some of the first people to breach the Capitol in a Facebook video.
“We are on the front lines. We helped push down the barriers. Jalise and I got pepper sprayed, clubbed, and tear gassed,” Middleton, 52, said in the since-deleted video, according to a criminal complaint. “No more fooling around! Jalise and I gotta go back to the hotel and try to recoup and change, get dry clothes on. Make America great again! Freedom!”
According to a public filing on the Texas secretary of state’s website first reported by The Dallas Morning News, Middleton is challenging Rep. David Spiller in House District 68 in the upcoming March 2022 Republican primary.
Spiller, of Jacksboro, Texas, has only been in office since March 2021, after he won a special election in February.
The Texas state Republican Party has accepted Middleton’s candidacy, according to the secretary of state’s website. James Wesolek, a spokesman for the party, told The Washington Post that the organization must accept all applications that are eligible under the Texas Election Code.
Texas election codes state that a candidate must not have been “finally convicted of a felony from which the person has not been pardoned or otherwise released from the resulting disabilities” in order to run for office.
Both Middleton and his wife pleaded not guilty to all nine counts in May following their April arrests. A trial date has not yet been set for the couple. They remain free on personal recognizance bonds.
In addition to assault charges, Middleton and his wife face counts of obstructing law enforcement, obstructing justice, knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building, disorderly and disruptive conduct, engaging in physical violence, and violent entry.
Earlier this month, at least 10 Republicans who attended the “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the deadly Capitol attack won local elections in six states, though most denied breaching the Capitol or playing an active role in the violence that followed. None were charged with crimes.
Investigators said Middleton and his wife were captured in photos and on video participating in the riot. The FBI obtained body-worn video that shows Middleton pushing against a police line during the attack while screaming expletives at officers for more than 30 seconds. Middleton then grabbed an officer’s hand or wrist, pulling him forward, according to the complaint.
Middleton declined to comment.
His campaign website details his platform, which includes increased border security, gun rights protections, parents’ rights, and the sovereignty of Texas, which could include an “exploration” of secession.
“To the extent the Union can be saved we should work to that end,” his website says. “However, it is past time Texans start seriously exploring our exit from the Union. We must and can preserve the rights and sovereignty of all Texans.”