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Michigan Republicans voted to bring a candidate who denies the 2020 election results closer to controlling the vote in the state.
Kristina Karamo, a community college professor who rose to prominence after claiming she saw voter fraud in Detroit during the last presidential race, won the three-way race for secretary of state with about 67% of the vote. voice.
Michigan does not hold primary elections for a number of downvotes, including secretary of state – who oversees elections – and attorney general. Instead, Republicans and Democrats endorse and then at party conventions nominate candidates for the November general election.
At Saturday’s GOP endorsement convention in Grand Rapids, the party voted strongly in support of former President Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election. About 2,000 delegates from across the state attended the vote.
The convention was seen by many as the first major test of Trump’s influence over the 2022 election. Former Trump campaign attorney Rudy Giuliani attended the convention, along with MyPillow founder Mike Lindell, who became a leader in the election denial movement.
Trump previously endorsed Karamo. The former president came to Michigan earlier this month to oppose both her and the attorney general candidate he was backing, Matt DePerno.
“It’s not just about 2022,” Trump said during the visit, at a rally in Washington Township. “This is about making sure Michigan is no longer rigged and robbed in 2024.”
Karamo is the first of many non-election candidates running in races for secretary of state across the United States to head to a state ballot in November. She also said she doesn’t believe evolution should be taught in schools.
His opponent will be incumbent Democrat Jocelyn Benson, who faced a torrent of threats and harassment after the 2020 election that echoed Trump’s lies about the Michigan vote.
Benson told NPR in an interview that she worries about the state of democracy, if the state elects a candidate for secretary of state, like Karamo, who thinks the 2020 election was stolen. .
“It’s like putting arsonists in charge of a fire department. It’s like putting a bank robber in charge of a bank and giving him the keys to the safe,” Benson said. “It’s a choice between whether or not we will have a democracy moving forward.”
Ahead of the general election, some Michigan political insiders wonder if Karamo will be able to broaden her support outside of Trump’s base, given the range of controversial views she has already expressed.
She appeared at a rally adjacent to QAnon last year, and she said she believed in the conspiracy theory that left-wing activists were behind the riot at the US Capitol on January 6. .
“Every ad from April 24 through November is going to say ‘QAnon Karamo is too crazy for us,'” said state Rep. Beau LaFave, a Republican who ran for secretary of state against Karamo, before Saturday’s vote.