LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A lawyer who has made false claims about vote-counting machines in Michigan's 2020 election has won former President Donald Trump's endorsement for state attorney general.
Matthew DePerno secured Trump's support Wednesday night. It could prove decisive when Republicans meet at conventions next year to endorse and later nominate a candidate to face Democrat Dana Nessel, who is up for reelection.
DePerno, who is from Kalamazoo, was the attorney for an Antrim County resident who unsuccessfully sued after a clerk's error led the county to initially erroneously show a local victory for Joe Biden over Trump. It was quickly corrected. A post-election hand-count audit of every Antrim ballot found that Dominion Voting Systems machines accurately counted the votes.
“He has defended the Constitution for 20 years, and has been on the front lines pursuing fair and accurate elections, as he relentlessly fights to reveal the truth about the Nov. 3rd Presidential Election Scam," said Trump, who lost to Joe Biden in Michigan by about 154,000 votes, or 2.8 percentage points.
The election was not stolen from Trump. No widespread corruption was found.
In July, Nessel opened an investigation at the request of a Republican-led legislative committee that alleged people were making baseless allegations about the results in Antrim County to raise money or publicity for their own ends. The lawmakers' report, which uncovered no systemic fraud in Michigan, did not specify who should be investigated. But people mentioned in it include DePerno, who has criticized GOP legislators for not ordering a statewide review of all ballots, machines and software.
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, has said the election's integrity and accuracy have been affirmed by more than 250 audits. Those included a review of procedures in at least 200 in-person voting precincts; a review of records and procedures related to absentee ballot counting in four large cities, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Sterling Heights and Livonia; and a comparison of 18,000 randomly selected ballots to the statewide total, showing “strong evidence” that the outcome was correct.
Also running for attorney general is Republican state Rep. Ryan Berman, a lawyer from Oakland County's Commerce Township. Another potential candidate is former House Speaker Tom Leonard, who lost to Nessel in 2018 by 2.8 percentage points but fared better than other top-of-the-ticket Republicans.
DePerno’s campaign called Trump's endorsement an “absolute honor” and said he is liberals’ “worst nightmare.”
Nessel tweeted that Trump's move was not surprising and makes DePerno the clear front-runner to challenge her.
“Our state is very much in danger of being taken over by the lunatic fringe if voters decide not to turn out in 2022,” she said while asking for campaign donations.
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