In the wake of last week’s primaries, there was considerable attention on the slate of Republican candidates who won statewide contests in Arizona, and for good reason. If these GOP candidates prevail, the Grand Canyon State’s governor, attorney general, and secretary of state — those responsible for overseeing, certifying, and defending election results — will be radical election deniers.
But in Michigan, another key battleground state, conditions are just as alarming for democracy advocates.
At the top of the ticket, Republican voters in the Wolverine State nominated Tudor Dixon, who embraced election conspiracy theories ahead of her primary victory. In the race for GOP nomination for secretary of state, Michigan Republicans have rallied behind Kristina Karamo, who based much of her candidacy on absurd claims about the 2020 presidential race.
And in the state attorney general’s race, the state GOP has nominated Matthew DePerno, an election denier who not only wants to investigate current state officials, his campaign bumper stickers call for "locking up" Dana Nessel, incumbent Democratic state attorney general.
As it turns out, there is a degree of irony to the Republican’s rhetoric. The Washington Post reported:
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) is seeking the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the Republican nominee for her job after a state police investigation found evidence that he helped orchestrate an effort last year to gain unauthorized access to voting equipment in an effort to prove there was fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
Evidently, there was a lengthy investigation by Michigan State Police and the state attorney general’s office into alleged voting machine breaches after the 2020 elections. According to materials presented to the Michigan Prosecuting Attorneys Coordinating Council, there was a group of Republican conspiracy theorists that “orchestrated a coordinated plan to gain access to voting tabulators” that were illegally seized from county clerks.
Among the alleged culprits is DePerno — the GOP’s Trump-backed choice to run for attorney general. (The state party’s delegates chose him in April, and DePerno is expected to formally receive the nomination later this month.)
Because of a conflict of interest — Michigan’s incumbent attorney general doesn’t want to be responsible for investigating the alleged crimes of the candidate running against her — Nessel is seeking a special prosecutor to pursue the allegations against DePerno and his alleged co-conspirators.
According to materials presented to the Michigan Prosecuting Attorneys Coordinating Council, the Republican attorney general candidate is “one of the prime instigators” of the alleged conspiracy to convince Michigan clerks to allow unauthorized access to voting machines.
DePerno has called the probe a “witch hunt,” which, if nothing else, keeps him in line with the rhetorical choices of the former president backing his candidacy.