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Michigan GOP leader: Bid to probe 2022 election a ‘shameless’ stunt

 Jason Wentworth
House Speaker Jason Wentworth says Michigan Republicans will not conduct a ‘fishing expedition’ into the 2022 election.
  • Rep. Steve Carra asked for subpoena power to investigate the 2022 election despite any real hint of fraud
  • House Speaker Jason Wentworth dismissed the request with a scorching letter
  • The attempt comes after Democrats scored a historic victory during the Nov. 8 election

LANSING — House Speaker Jason Wentworth has shot down an effort by fellow Michigan Republicans to investigate the 2022 election, calling it “a shameless and half-baked political stunt.”

In a letter first reported by The Detroit News, Rep. Steve Carra, R-Three Rivers, asked Wentworth to give a commission the subpoena power needed to investigate the election. 

“Mr. Speaker, we have a choice to make: either we accept the alleged outcome and move on, or we investigate why the majority of Americans, according to a November 14, 2022, Rasmussen poll, have lost faith in our elections to some degree,” Carra wrote in his letter.


Some of the lawmakers who signed the letter “are ready to head to Lansing,” Carra wrote.

The long-shot bid to investigate the Nov. 8 election comes despite resounding victories by Democrats up and down the ballot, an absence of any credible claims of fraud and concessions from GOP gubernatorial hopeful Tudor Dixon and Matthew DePerno, the Republican nominee for attorney general.

Turnout for the general election set a record, and the few technical errors that were reported were fixed before they impacted voters, Michigan Secretary of State spokesperson Jake Rollow previously told reporters. 

Carra was one of the several lawmakers to boost former President Donald Trump’s conspiracy theory that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. On Jan. 6, 2021, Carra attended an event outside the Michigan State Capitol and told the crowd he and other lawmakers had signed a letter asking then-Vice President Mike Pence to decertify the election results in five states, including Michigan.

President Joe Biden won Michigan by 154,000 votes in 2020. More than 250 local audits, as well as one led by the Republican-led state Legislature in Michigan, found no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would have swayed the election outcome in 2020. 

The Thursday letter does not include signatures by state lawmakers.

Wentworth wrote in a Friday email responding to Carra that the Legislature cannot use “subpoenas to conduct a general fishing expedition."

"They need to be targeted,” the email says. “Given that, what are the details of every 2022 election-fraud incident you and these members are aware of?”

Additionally, Wentworth told Carra lawmakers should not be “in the business of authorizing pop psychology opinion surveys.”

“Suppose over half of Michiganders surveyed said they distrusted your motives in sending your Nov. 17 letter — that is, they believed this is a shameless and half-baked political stunt performed on state time and solely calculated to inflame an already troubled section of our party,” he said in the response. 

“Do you think that would justify the Legislature subpoenaing you? Don’t you think it’s bad practice to justify legislative subpoenas based on opinion surveys?"

The rebuke from Wentworth is the latest rift within the Republican Party, which is reeling from Election Day losses in Michigan. 

Wentworth's priorities are to help Republicans move on, run stronger campaigns and retake (the) majority" in the Legislature, his spokesperson, Gideon D'Assandro, wrote in an email to Bridge.

While most Republicans aren't focused on fraud claims, a small but vocal contingent such as former state Sen. Patrick Colbeck continues to make unsubstantiated claims.

“The ONLY way I will believe yesterday’s results is after completion of a transparent, full forensic audit,” Colbeck wrote on Twitter the day after the election.

“Just (freaking) stop it,” one prominent Republican replied, while using a different word than “freaking.”

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