Donald Trump loyalists are expected to consummate a purge of the Michigan Republican Party tonight by handing leadership posts to an election-denying candidate who lost in 2022, the New York Times reported today.
With voting now in its third round – slowed by the party’s insistence on paper ballots and hand-counting – the two leading candidates are both election deniers who lost overwhelmingly in the last election, the Times reported. They are Matthew DePerno, who lost by eight percentage points in his race for attorney general and Kristina Karamo, who lost by 14 points in the race for secretary of state.
“Ms. Karamo led in both of the first two rounds of voting, but neither she nor Mr. DePerno secured 50 percent of the vote,” the Times reported. But the reporting noted that DePerno is widely considered a front-runner from a field of 9 that includes no high-profile members of the Republican old guard.”
DePerno “is an election conspiracy theorist who is under investigation in a case involving voting equipment that was tampered with after the 2020 presidential race,” the Times reported. And it noted this:
“The selection of either Mr. DePerno or Ms. Karamo would signal a recommitment to Mr. Trump as the state party’s north star, even though voters rejected many of his favored candidates in the midterms. The fractured state G.O.P. appears to have either purged or alienated more moderate voices and is now plotting a defiant course as the 2024 presidential election approaches.”
Michigan Democrats enjoyed a blue wave in 2022, not only winning all of the statewide races but flipping both houses of the state legislature for the first time in decades. The irony of elevating the losing candidates was not lost on Republican Party regulars, according to the report.
“Former Representative Peter Meijer, whom Republican primary voters ousted last year after he voted to impeach Mr. Trump after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, said in a recent interview that the state party was on the wrong track.
“In our state, this civil war is benefiting no one but the Democrats,” he said. “Part of what the Republican Party in the state of Michigan needs to get back to is being a broad tent. To me, the fundamental challenge is, how do you rebuild trust in the state party after losses like we saw in November?”
And former Representative Fred Upton, a Republican who declined to run for re-election last year after also voting to impeach Mr. Trump added this:
“Sadly, it looks like they want an encore.”