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Michigan Republican Party endorses Karamo, DePerno for state offices

April 23, 2022
<p>Kristina Karamo, who received the Michigan Republican Party nomination for Secretary of State, watches the voting results on April 23, 2022. </p>

Kristina Karamo, who received the Michigan Republican Party nomination for Secretary of State, watches the voting results on April 23, 2022.

Photo by Dan Netter | The State News

At the Michigan Republican Party endorsement convention in Grand Rapids, two candidates for statewide office received the endorsement and nomination of the Michigan Republican Party.

Kristina Karamo and Matthew DePerno received the greatest number of delegates votes, winning the nominations for Secretary of State and Attorney General, respectively.

Karamo was the favored candidate to win the Michigan GOP nod for Secretary of State. Karamo was endorsed as well by former President Donald Trump. 

Karamo is a community college professor and is running largely on election denialism, saying current Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson was working to undermine and suppress votes in the 2020 election. Her website lists election integrity as one of the top issues of her campaign.

This claim has been debunked several times, with an investigation by the Associated Press done in December 2021 showing that there were fewer than 500 instances of voter fraud.

Nonetheless, Karamo beat out two other candidates for the position, state Rep. Beau LaFave, R-Iron Mountain, and Chesterfield Township clerk Cindy Barry. 

The attorney general race was much closer, with candidates DePerno and Tom Leonard both giving strong showings of support during their nominations and introductions at the convention. It took two ballots of precinct delegates voting in order to determine a winner.

After confusion over the second ballot, DePerno won the vote 55%-45% over Leonard. Issues arose after voters became confused over the set up of the ballots and the list of candidates projected onto the screen.

DePerno received the endorsement of Trump and appeared at a rally with him on April 2; He and his campaign have been circulating several conspiracy theories. Trump, in a telephone town hall for DePerno last week, claimed Leonard failed to prevent voter fraud in the 2020 election, despite Leonard leaving elected office in 2018 because of term limits.

Leonard, on the other hand, had received more endorsements from state Republican Party officials. He was the candidate for Attorney General in 2018 before losing to current Attorney General Dana Nessel. Running largely on being a pro-life candidate, Leonard has also ran his campaign on being “tough on crime.“

Both candidates had a strong showing of support at the convention, but ultimately DePerno won the endorsement of the party, beating out Leonard as well as state Rep. Ryan Berman, R-Commerce Township.

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