Trump is now involved in the Michigan GOP's nomination process. Trump is supporting two candidates who believe there was widespread fraud during the 2020 election. Kristina Karamo is running as secretary of state and Matthew DePerno is running to be attorney general.
The former president visited Michigan earlier in April to support the candidates. He will send a video message to support them at , a party just before the convention vote. On Wednesday night, Trump held a DePerno telephone town hall.
According to The Detroit News, Trump stated that "This choice isn't just about 2022." "This is about making sure that the state of Michigan can't be stolen from Republicans in 2024, or ever again."
Voters will not decide whether these candidates make it to the general election. Michigan state party activists nominate candidates to the offices of secretary of state, attorney General, state supreme Court, state board of education, and university boards.
This means that about 2,500 Republicans will decide which Trump's candidates will represent them in the fall. He is still a powerful influence with the grassroots GOP members. The convention will be a test of his influence among the most active members of the party.
This is especially true for the attorney general race where DePerno faces a difficult challenge against former Michigan House Speaker Tom Leonard. Leonard narrowly lost the 2018 attorney general race. Ryan Berman, a state representative, is also running to be attorney general.
John Sellek, a Republican public relation consultant and owner Harbor Strategic, said that while it was a significant milestone for Michigan GOP, it is most certainly a milestone for Trump. "A loss in the race for the attorney general will be seen as a sign of Trump's weak grip on power."
DePerno represented the plaintiff in a case that sought to contest the 2020 elections results in Antrim County (Michigan).
Initial results from Antrim, a traditionally Republican county, suggested that Mr. Biden had won the county. A human error caused the county's tabulators incorrectly to communicate the election results to county's central electoral management software. After the equipment was reprogrammed the results showed that Donald Trump had won the county with nearly 4,000 votes. A hand recount of the ballots confirmed this result.
Some GOP leaders and activists used the Antrim County error to spread conspiracy theories that Dominion Voting Machines were switching votes. After the election, Mr. Trump repeated false claims concerning Antrim County. On Wednesday night, he called ongoing litigation "explosive" during a telephone rally.
In June 2021, a report by a Republican-led Michigan Senate Committee stated that "ideas or speculations that Antrim County election workers or other entities manipulated the vote electronically or hand-by-hand are unfounded." The same report stated that the committee had not found any evidence of widespread fraud in Michigan's prosecution for the 2020 election.
A Michigan appeals court dismissed DePerno's claims on Thursday. He said that his client had failed to make any "clear and positive" factual allegations that would'make out an obvious case of right."
In a unanimous decision, the court stated that plaintiff "merely raised a number of questions about election" without making any specific factsual allegations. "There are no allegations in this complaint that purported irregularities in Antrim County might have affected the outcome of the presidential election," the court stated in a unanimous opinion.
DePerno promised to appeal the decision to Michigan's Supreme Court. CBS News reached out to him and his campaign for comment. After the court's decision he stated in that he would continue to fight for electoral integrity at all levels, including as an attorney general of Michigan.
Michigan Republicans believe Karamo is more likely to win her race at this year's nominating convention. To be the Republican nominee for the office overseeing elections, she is up against Beau LaFave, a state representative, and Cindy Berry, a Chesterfield Township Clerk.
After the 2020 election Karamo gained popularity. She claimed that she witnessed fraud in Detroit's counting of absentee votes. Later, Karamo testified before a state Senate committee. She appeared on cable news to make unfounded claims about widespread fraud. In Texas, she filed to intervene at the Supreme Court which sought to reverse the 2020 election.
Karamo claimed that a ballot had been filled with straight-ticket voting bubbles for Republicans and Democrats. She claimed that a worker wanted to count her ballot for Democrats, and that a supervisor instructed the worker to "push the button."
Chris Thomas, long-serving Michigan elections director, was present at the Detroit absentee count facility. He told CBS News that pushing it through meant the ballot would be recorded as an overvote, and therefore would not count for either side.
"(The supervisor) could have been more clear with her if she was accurate in her rendition. She said, "Look, we agree with your statements and they're going push it through. It's an overvote." Thomas stated that Biden is not being given a vote. Although it may have been a better story, it isn't as compelling.
Kararmo's campaign didn't respond to our requests for comment.
The political landscape
Conservatives embrace both Trump-endorsed candidates. Meshawn Maddock (Michigan GOP co-chair), who has close ties with Trump, endorsed both DePerno, and Karamo in personal capacity.
In a statement, she stated that "Having these champions, Karamo & DePerno in office will ensure we stop stolen elections" and was important to a real audit of the 2020 election. Many state and federal courts in Michigan rejected attempts at overturning the results of the 2020 elections. more that 250 audits were conducted by the state confirmed the election's accuracy.
Gustavo Portela was the communications director of the Michigan Republican Party. He stressed that the endorsement was given in an individual capacity, and that party leaders had previously contributed to the process. He said that ultimately, it was the delegates who will decide who will receive the endorsement.
The Michigan Conservative Coalition has supported both candidates. It worked hard to elect conservative delegates to the state convention.
We believe they are the best candidates for the job. Rosanne Ponkowski of the Michigan Conservative Coalition stated that they are Trump's picks and she supports him. Ponkowski also works with Karamo's campaign.
Some Republicans are concerned that DePerno or Karamo could cost the GOP the general election in November, in an year when the political climate favors Republicans.
Tony Daunt is a member the Michigan Republican Party State Committee. He was also the former executive director for the conservative Michigan Freedom Fund. However, he stated that he can't vote in November for any candidate at this stage. Karamo could be supported if she does "a lot of meaculpa." It should be a warning that Republicans like Daunt don't want these candidates in their ranks, he said.
"People in a position where they can help to reduce some of the violence, rather than doing so, are feeding into it." They're pushing these cancerous and malignant figures on delegate base," stated Daunt, who will not be attending the convention. "Unfortunately, they will have to learn the hard lesson that if they nominate people such as this they are likely to throw away a race that is otherwise very winnable since the Democrats have been such failures."
Republicans will officially nominate candidates at their convention, which takes 75% of the delegates to reverse Saturday's results.
After grassroots members demanded it, Saturday's convention will include a hand count of ballots.
Portela stated that "they didn't want to use Dominion voting machine and they were concerned about the voting machines not getting it right." "That's why we created an audit committee to assure our grassroots that this election will be safe and secure.