One of the nation's highest-profile phony election audits has become endangered by "a big squabble fest" in which right-wing Republicans are accusing one another of wrongdoing, the Detroit News reported Thursday night.
"For months, Republican activists have been unsuccessfully pushing for a "forensic" audit of the 2020 election in Michigan. Democrat Joe Biden won the state by 154,000 votes or 3 percentage points, a result that's been upheld by a series of court rulings, dozens of past audits and an investigation by the GOP-controlled state Senate Oversight Committee," the News reported.
"But those details have not deterred Trump and "forensic" audit supporters, who maintain there was widespread voter fraud."
Now, however, it appears that warring wingnuts might be deterring themselves. Here's how the report described the sniping:
"The infighting has played out on social media in recent weeks, culminating Tuesday with Jovan Hutton Pulitzer, a vocal critic nationally of the election and the author of books about treasure hunting, publicly criticizing Michigan Republican Party Co-Chairwoman Meshawn Maddock.
Pulitzer, whom a Michigan Senate committee previously accused of spreading false information, claimed Maddock and her husband, state Rep. Matt Maddock, R-Milford, were involved in a scheme to take money from candidates in exchange for helping them get endorsements from former President Donald Trump.
Gustavo Portela, the Michigan Republican Party's communications director, said Pulitzer's statements were "absolutely not true."
"Michigan officials demand the payment (which we tracked down) and then you (Michigan GOPers) go to POTUS and say 'this is our guy,'" Pulitzer tweeted Tuesday. 'That I have a problem with.'
"Meshawn Maddock fired back at Pulitzer on social media, asking if he was accusing Trump of "being paid off for endorsements."
"'I just want to be sure before I give him a call,' Maddock said referring to the former president."
Meanwhile, one of the most interesting sideshows that has developed involves Mellissa Carone, who gained a brief moment of national attention for her bizarre testimony as Rudy Giuliani's star witness at a hearing falsely claiming election fraud.
"A feud has broken out in public among (Trump-endorsed state representative candidate) Jon Rocha, Pulitzer and Carone, one of the most outspoken critics of the election in Michigan.
"Carone and Pulitzer have been at the center of sparring.
"Gaining notoriety over the last year, Carone was a contractor for Dominion Voting Systems at the TCF Center, where Detroit's absentee ballots were counted in the November 2020 election. Afterward, she leveled a series of allegations about wrongdoing at TCF and was eventually parodied on "Saturday Night Live."
In December 2020, lawyers representing Dominion Voting Systems asked her to "cease and desist making defamatory claims" and preserve records related to her "smear campaign against the company."
The report then detailed the charges and countercharges among the warring factions. Also, it turns out Carone --herself a state rep candidate now in Michigan-- isn't the only colorful figure in the fray, as the News noted:
"Pulitzer, who's reportedly from Texas, has been involved in unproven election claims in a number of key battleground states, including Michigan, Georgia and Arizona.
A past statement from the Georgia Secretary of State's office described Pulitzer as a treasure hunter who unsuccessfully searched for the Ark of the Covenant and "the inventor of CueCat, a cat shaped device that, when connected to the computer, allowed users to scan barcodes on ads that would bring up the website."
All of the fighting adds up to trouble for the Republicans, the report said.
"To get a petition initiative to the Legislature, a group would have to gather 340,047 valid signatures within 180 days, a difficult task that would become more challenging if supporters were feuding among themselves.
"As an example, Tami Carlone, who's the coalitions vice chairwoman for the Michigan Republican Party, posted on Facebook this week that she decided to step back from the board of the audit petition drive.
The role had "brought on behavior by others I will not stand for," Carlone wrote.