Jul 26, 2022 - Politics

Support for election fraud conspirator

Matthew DePerno (left) and Mike Shirkey.
Matthew DePerno (left) and Mike Shirkey. Photos by Scott Olson/Getty Images and Michigan Senate

Matthew DePerno, the Republican nominee for attorney general who was accused of profiting off 2020 election conspiracies by GOP senators now has the support of legislative leadership.

Driving the news: Sen. Majority Leader Mike Shirkey's (R-Clarklake) endorsement of Matthew DePerno last week was followed by endorsements from Sen. Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton) and Rep. Matt Hall (R-Comstock Township).

  • Nesbitt is expected to replace Shirkey as Senate leader and Hall is expected to become the next House speaker.
  • DePerno, a Kalamazoo County constitutional attorney who has been endorsed by former President Trump, already had the support of the Trump-allied party co-chair, Meshawn Maddock.
  • "Matt DePerno has shown he is fearless and doggedly determined," Shirkey said in a statement. "Matt and I have had our differences, but they pale in comparison to the blatant partisan antics of our current attorney general."

Why it matters: While Trump has stayed out of Michigan's Republican gubernatorial primary race thus far, his endorsement of state department races will test his staying power come November.

  • Kristina Karamo, the GOP candidate for secretary of state also endorsed by Trump, has yet to receive the same endorsements.
  • As both SOS and AG nominees are chosen by party delegates instead of voters, they won't appear on the Aug. 2 primary ballot.

Flashback: Shirkey, who has said he believes the 2020 election was not stolen, told the Detroit News in April that DePerno would "be a weight all the way down the ticket" and would "encourage Trump to make even more mischief in Michigan."

  • DePerno has called out Shirkey for not doing enough to bring a "forensic audit" to investigate the 2020 election following Trump's claims it was rigged.
  • An investigative report of 2020 election fraud claims led by Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan) named DePerno as an individual who made "demonstrably false" election claims "based on misleading information and illogical conclusions."
  • GOP senators even called on the Democratic AG's office to investigate those pushing misinformation "to raise money or publicity for their own ends."

Between the lines: DePerno has also said he would investigate Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson for policy decisions that have been criticized by Republican lawmakers.

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