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Who are the Michigan GOP candidates for attorney general, secretary of state?

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April 23: Michigan GOP endorses Trump favorites DePerno, Karamo at convention

LANSING — The Michigan Republican Party will host an endorsement convention Saturday in Grand Rapids, where delegates will vote on potential nominees for attorney general, secretary of state and other posts.

The nominations won’t be official until August, but the party will treat winners of the endorsement convention as official nominees, allowing them to begin campaigning and fundraising for their general election fight against Democrats.

Sponsor

Here’s a look at the slate of convention candidates, including brief biographies of candidates in contested races for attorney general and secretary of state.

Related:

Attorney General

Tom Leonard: Leonard is a former Michigan House speaker who served three terms in the state Legislature, from 2013 to 2018. He won the Republican nomination for attorney general in 2018 but lost to incumbent Democrat Dana Nessel by 2.7 percentage points. Former President Donald Trump in 2019 nominated Leonard to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan, but the appointment was blocked by Democrats in the U.S. Senate. 

Leonard says he would prioritize fighting crime and ensuring secure elections. Leonard supports a “forensic audit” of the 2020 election and has raised concerns about administration of that contest but has said he has not seen evidence of widespread voter fraud.  

Matthew DePerno: DePerno is a Portage-based attorney best known for his lawsuit over Antrim County election results, which triggered ongoing conspiracy theories over voting machines and put him on the frontlines of Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 contest. He also represented former state Rep. Todd Courser in a sex scandal cover-up case that concluded with Courser pleading no-contest no contest to willful neglect of duty by a public officer.

DePerno, endorsed by Trump, is a leading advocate for a “forensic audit” of the 2020 election, something he continues to fight for in Antrim County. If elected, he has said he will investigate and prosecute Whitmer, Nessel and Benson for "for all the damage they have done" in office.

Ryan Berman: Berman is a second-term Michigan state representative from Commerce Township. He’s worked as a general practice attorney and served as a reserve deputy with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office.

Berman says he would focus on public safety and government transparency. Like other GOP candidates, Berman supports a "forensic audit" of the 2020 election, but he has challenged DePerno's theory that voting machines were rigged. His office led a hand recount of three precincts and found it "highly improbable that machines flipped votes in Michigan."

Secretary of State

Kristina Karamo: Karamo, who is endorsed by Trump, has worked as an instructor at Wayne County Community College, where she has taught public speaking and college orientation classes, and as a live trivia host. She is best known for claiming to witness fraud at Detroit’s absentee counting board in 2020, allegations that made her a part of Trump’s attempt to overturn his election loss.

Karamo says she would investigate election fraud claims, focus on election security and reduce regulations at motor vehicle division branch offices. 

Beau LaFave: LaFave is a third-term state representative from Iron Mountain who chairs the Committee on Military, Veterans and Homeland Security. He holds a degree in International Relations and Political Economy from Michigan State University’s James Madison College.

LaFave says he would "restore integrity" in the Secretary of State’s Office and reverse some of the branch office changes made by incumbent Democrat Jocelyn Benson, who implemented an appointment-based system that limits walk-in customer opportunities. 

Cindy Berry: Berry has served as the Chesterfield Township clerk since 2012, overseeing local elections and serving as the custodian of government records. She served as a Macomb County co-chair for Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. 

Berry says she would focus on improving customer service at branch offices and use her clerk experience to "implement increased transparency, oversight, and procedures" to ensure trust in the voting process.

Sponsor

State Board of Education (two will advance): Linda Lee Tarver, Michelle Frederick, Richard Zeile, Tami Carlone

Michigan State University Trustee (two will advance): Travis Menge, Melanie Foster (incumbent), Rick Wendorf, Mike Balow

University of Michigan Regents (two will advance): Lauren Hantz, Sevag Vartanian, Andrea Fischer Newman, Lena Epstein

Michigan Supreme Court (two will advance): Brian Zahra (incumbent), Paul Hudson

Wayne State University Board of Governors (two will advance): Craig Wilsher, Christa Murphy

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