Michigan Information & Research Service Inc.
Michigan Information & Research Service Inc.

Focus Turns To County Conventions For GOP AG, SOS Candidates

04/06/22 09:43 AM By John Reurink

(Source: MIRS.news, Published 04/05/2022) Candidates seeking the Michigan Republican Party's endorsement are switching their attention almost entirely to the April 23 convention delegate pool, which isn't completely set.


As part of this first-time endorsement convention, most of the delegates will be precinct delegates, people selected in the 2020 election. However, if not enough delegates can make it to the convention, up to 15% of a county's allotment can be selected at the April 14 county conventions.


For the pro-Donald Trump delegates, this 15% is critical in recruiting pro-Trump activists to "storm" the county conventions and make sure they swallow up as many spots as possible.


Republican Attorney General hopeful Matt DePerno is making 50 to 80 personal calls a day to precinct delegates and people looking to attend the April 14 county conventions, said spokesperson Tyson Shepard.


This comes after Saturday's Trump rally, during which DePerno went as far as to say potential delegates should "storm" their county conventions and become state delegates.


"We're going to win," Shepard said. "We're calling as many Trump supporters as possible to grow the grassroots of the Republican Party."


Secretary of State candidate Beau LaFave (R-Iron Mountain) said the MRP changed the rules in the run-up to this first-ever convention to a) not allow former legislative nominees from the 2020 election to automatically serve as voting participants in the convention.


Also, b) that 15% number had been 10% in previous conventions. If the focus is to increase the activity of people not formerly in the party, these moves would seem to achieve it.


"I get a little nervous when party leaders are breaking all the norms and changing all the rules," LaFave said. "It doesn't matter. I'm still going to win."


For his part, LaFave said he's made more than 2,200 calls to delegates during the course of his campaign. He plans to finish the last few hundred by week's end.


His opponent, Kristina Karamo, likewise, is "totally focused" on the precinct delegates and the convention after giving a rousing speech in Washington Township, said spokesperson Rosanne PONKOWSKI.


In related news, Attorney General candidate Tom Leonard announced Monday that he received the endorsement of Owosso barber Karl Manke, the pandemic lockdown rebel. He also added U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar (R) and Ottawa County GOP Executive Committee member Jim Barry to his endorsement list.


In related news, Attorney General Dana Nessel was asked on Off The Record this past weekend what Michigan would be like if DePerno was state attorney general.


"I think it's going to be a scary place," she said. Asked if DePerno, her possible GOP opponent, was a loose cannon, she said yes.


Nessel said her office is currently dispatching work on some 40,000 cases and if DePerno is in charge, "I'm really concerned that many of the cases are going to fall by the wayside and potentially the state could go bankrupt."  She warned that her office should not be used, "as a way to investigate and prosecute the enemies of Donald Trump."


The incumbent said she believes it is "incredibly dangerous," for Trump's candidates to be "spreading misinformation and distorting what really occurred" in the 2020 election.


"This tells me these are individuals who either don't understand the law or don't care about the law."


The West Michigan barrister who tried to overturn the Michigan election on behalf of Trump is engaged in a nominating convention battle with Leonard, the 2018 GOP nominee and Rep. Ryan Berman (R-Commerce Twp.).


Nessel lumped Leonard in with DePerno.


"Leonard's views are just as extreme as Matt DePerno, but they might be a little more subtle," she told the Off the Record panel. She describes him as decidedly "anti-LGBTQ rights," despite strong support for that from segments of the state's business community and she feels he has threatened "to prosecute doctors and women in the event Roe v. Wade is overturned" regarding abortion rights.