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Election-denying conspiracy theorist runs for Michigan Supreme Court

Election-denying conspiracy theorist runs for Michigan Supreme Court

By Kyle Kaminski

June 25, 2024

A former Republican attorney general candidate is running for the Michigan Supreme Court while simultaneously fighting felony charges for allegedly helping supporters of Donald Trump illegally gain access to voting machines. 

MICHIGAN—A former Republican candidate for state Attorney General who was criminally charged in connection with an effort to illegally access and tamper with voting machines in Michigan after the 2020 election is now running for a seat on the state’s high court.

Matt DePerno is a relentless election denier, conspiracy theorist, and long-time supporter of ex-President Donald Trump who was handily defeated in his bid to unseat Attorney General Dana Nessel in 2022, and then lost a bid to become chairman of the Michigan GOP last year.

His latest campaign announcement was posted to Twitter last week.

Election-denying conspiracy theorist runs for Michigan Supreme Court

DePerno is running for a partial-term seat currently held by Democratic-backed judge Kyra Harris Bolden. He will compete against two other Republican candidates for the Republican Party’s nomination at the August convention, Alexandria Taylor and Patrick O’Grady. 

The winner will face off against Bolden in November. Two other Republican candidates—Mark Boonstra and Andrew Fink—are seeking the Republican nomination against Kimberly Ann Thomas, who has been endorsed by the Democratic Party for another open seat on the bench.

“After watching the abuse of our legal system both here in Michigan, as well as across the country, it is clear that the Michigan Supreme Court needs members that are committed to following the constitution and rule of law,” DePerno wrote. “Activist judges, prosecutors, and attorney generals are using their power to prosecute their political enemies. This has to stop.”

DePerno (alongside other Republicans) was arraigned last summer on charges of undue possession of a voting machine and conspiracy after five vote tabulators were allegedly taken from three Michigan counties and illegally brought to a hotel room, where Republicans then broke into them to perform a series of “tests” on the equipment, according to court records.

DePerno was named as a “prime instigator” in that case, which has not yet gone to trial. Because Nessel ran against DePerno in 2022, her office requested—and was granted—a special prosecutor in the case, which has contributed to ongoing delays in prosecution.

Depending on how the case shakes out, however, it could pose an obstacle to DePerno’s candidacy—and any eventual tenure on the Court. A state judge has ruled that it is a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, to take a voting machine without a court order or permission.

DePerno, for his part, has denied any wrongdoing

Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes said DePerno’s “disdain for democracy and reproductive freedom” make him “unfit to serve” and a “direct threat to our legal system.”

“The stakes have never been higher for these supreme court races—if Trump’s MAGA loyalists are elected, they will do everything in their power to drag our state backward,” she said. 

READ MORE: 8 things to know about Matt DePerno and his alleged election crimes 

For the latest Michigan news, follow The ‘Gander on Twitter.

Follow Political Correspondent Kyle Kaminski here.

Author

  • Kyle Kaminski

    Kyle Kaminski is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news across Michigan. Prior to joining The ‘Gander, Kyle worked as the managing editor at City Pulse in Lansing and as a reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

CATEGORIES: VOTING
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