Pro-Trump candidate encourages supporters to ‘storm’ county GOP conventions

Republican candidate for attorney general Matt DePerno is urging his supporters to “storm” Republican county conventions across the state.

DePerno, who received the unusual endorsement of Michigan GOP Co-Chair Meshawn Maddock, despite there being two other candidates in the race, told his supporters to register for conventions in each of Michigan’s 83 counties, where delegates for the statewide endorsement convention will be selected.

During a rally last weekend with President Donald Trump, DePerno told his supporters to “storm” the conventions, and his campaign has set up a website with the same message.

“Every one of you delegates, raise your hand right now. I need every one of you to go to county conventions on April 11. It’s time we storm the convention,” DePerno said. “And if you’re not a delegate, you still need to go to county convention. It is time to storm the convention.”

The other Republicans seeking the nomination are former House Speaker Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt) or state Rep. Ryan Berman (R-Commerce Twp.).

Republican precinct delegates and officeholders will meet at county conventions Monday to select who to send to the statewide endorsement convention on April 23 in Grand Rapids. The nominee will face Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel in November.

Under the rules set by the Michigan Republican Party, those precinct delegates elected in the August 2020 primary are given preference to become delegates to the statewide convention.

Under a “hard-working Republicans” rule, however, the county convention could choose to allocate up to 15% of its statewide convention seats to people who are not precinct delegates but would be treated as if they are.

If enough elected delegates at a county convention favored DePerno, they could select to send non-delegates who would also support their candidate of choice rather than other elected precinct delegates who may support Leonard or Berman instead.

Usually, candidates for attorney general and secretary of state would be selected at August nominating conventions, shortly after new precinct delegates were elected in the August primary.

This year, however, the Republican Party opted to hold an early endorsement convention in a bid to give the candidates more time to build their general election campaigns. Michigan Democrats used a similar strategy in 2018 when seats were open due to term limits.

Maddock also endorsed Kristina Karamo for secretary of state over state Rep. Beau LaFave (R-Iron Mountain) and Chesterfield Township Clerk Cindy Berry.

Some candidates had already questioned the fairness of the convention following Maddock’s endorsements, leading some to speculate that a candidate who loses at the endorsement convention could continue their campaigns into the August nominating convention.

“At the end of the day, frankly, I think it’s going to backfire on her,” LaFave said following Maddock’s endorsement Karamo. “Everyone that loses at convention is going to be upset by the appearance of impropriety, even if one does not manifest itself at convention. So I’m sure that when I win at convention, everybody that doesn’t win is going to be very upset.”


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