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Former state attorney general candidate Matt DePerno, while facing charges, announces run for Michigan Supreme Court

Craig Mauger, The Detroit News on

Published in News & Features

LANSING, Mich. — Republican Matt DePerno, a former attorney general nominee who's been charged with felonies for allegedly mishandling voting equipment, said Wednesday he's running for a seat on Michigan's top court.

In a statement, the Kalamazoo lawyer and ally of former President Donald Trump said it's "clear that the Michigan Supreme Court needs members that are committed to following the constitution and rule of law."

"Activist judges, prosecutors and attorney generals are using their power to prosecute their political enemies," DePerno said. "This has to stop. And that is why I am running for Supreme Court."

The decision by DePerno means he'll pursue the Michigan GOP's nomination for one of the two seats on the state's high court that are up for election this fall and adds to the race someone who's been close with Trump, the likely Republican nominee for president.

The Michigan Supreme Court features seven justices. Four of them were nominated or appointed by Democrats, and three were nominated by Republicans. One Republican seat and one Democratic seat will be on the ballot in November.

Party delegates will choose their nominees at conventions later this summer.

Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Mark Boonstra and state Rep. Andrew Fink, R-Hillsdale, are seeking the Republican nomination to fill a full eight-year term left up for grabs with the impending retirement of GOP-nominated Justice David Viviano.

Trump endorsed Boonstra last month. Kimberly Ann Thomas, a law professor at the University of Michigan, is running for the Democratic nomination for the seat.

DePerno is pursuing the seat on the court currently held by Justice Kyra Harris Bolden, an appointee of Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.


Branch County Judge Patrick William O’Grady and lawyer Alexandria Taylor of Romulus are already running for the Republican nomination to fill the partial four-year term on the high court left unfinished when former Chief Justice Bridget McCormack, a Democratic-nominated justice, left the bench in late 2022.

DePerno rose to political prominence after the 2020 presidential election by challenging the results and the voting equipment itself in northern Michigan's Antrim County. There, Democrat Joe Biden had won in preliminary results, but Trump won the county when errors, caused by missteps by election workers, were found and corrected for the certified results.

Trump endorsed DePerno for attorney general, Michigan's top law enforcement position, ahead of the 2022 election. But DePerno lost to Democratic incumbent Dana Nessel by about 9 percentage points in November 2022.

Then, in January 2023, Trump endorsed DePerno to be the Michigan Republican Party chairman. DePerno lost that race to former secretary of state candidate Kristina Karamo, whom delegates eventually removed from the chair position.

In August, about 10 months ago, a special prosecutor revealed felony charges against DePerno and two other Trump allies because of their alleged efforts to obtain, access and analyze Michigan voting machines that were used in the 2020 presidential election.

DePerno is facing four criminal charges, including undue possession of a voting machine and willfully damaging a voting machine. He has denied wrongdoing. His case is pending in 44th District Court in Oakland County.


(Staff Writer Beth LeBlanc contributed to this story.)

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