After originally dodging an opportunity to make clear to Michiganders if he intended to stoke distrust around our democratic processes, last night Perry Johnson endorsed Republican Matthew DePerno, solidifying his status as yet another election conspiracy theorist in the crowded race for governor.
DePerno has used his campaign for Michigan Attorney General to elevate his singular agenda to decertify the state’s 2020 general election results. There has been no low he hasn’t been willing to stoop to in pursuit of his baseless crusade to relitigate an election that has long since concluded, been certified, and has been audited “more than 250” times. With his endorsement yesterday, Perry joined the rest of the GOP gubernatorial field in stoking distrust in our elections.
But DePerno isn’t alone. Along with Johnson, gubernatorial Republicans like James Craig, Garrett Soldano, and Tudor Dixon have all expressed support for an Arizona-style “audit” in Michigan, despite the multi-million dollar sham exercise reinforcing the fact that there was no evidence of fraud. Ryan Kelley participated in the violent insurrection on January 6th as one of the thousands spurred on by the belief that the White House was stolen from former President Trump.
And between his issues page and intro ad, Kevin Rinke made the baseless claim that “2020 election was rife with administrative problems, leading to a tainted election” and pledged to “audit the voter rolls” – an extreme step that even the most vocal candidates on this issue have yet to take in their crusade to undermine public trust in the electoral process and limit Michiganders’ freedom to participate in democracy.
MDP spokesperson Rodericka Applewhaite issued the following statement:
“By endorsing Matthew DePerno, Perry Johnson has set his extremism in stone. Michiganders now know that all ‘quality’ means for the off-kilter millionaire is backing baseless lies despite overwhelming evidence proving their conspiracy theories are just that. Unfortunately, this demonstrated unwillingness to stay grounded in reality has become the default for Republicans seeking office in Michigan as every gubernatorial candidate has echoed similar claims meant to destabilize our democratic process. Michiganders and our democracy at large deserve leaders that won’t prop up lies and strip voting rights when elections don’t go their way.”