Matt DePerno, facing felony charges, announces Michigan Supreme Court run - TAI News
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Republican Matt DePerno, a former attorney general nominee who’s been charged with felonies for allegedly mishandling voting equipment, is seen at the Oakland County GOP Headquarters, Friday, June 14, 2024 in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Matt DePerno, a Republican attorney from Kalamazoo who has been charged with violating Michigan’s election law, announced on June 13 that he’s running for a seat on the Michigan Supreme Court.

DePerno gained political prominence after promoting baseless conspiracy theories related to election fraud in the 2020 presidential election. Notably, DePerno filed a lawsuit that alleged errors by election workers in northern Michigan’s Antrim County were evidence that misconduct cost then-President Donald Trump that year’s election. He lost that case, and the Michigan Supreme Court denied his appeal.

DePerno is facing four felony criminal charges in connection with an alleged plot by conservatives to breach voting machines in search of what they claimed was widespread fraud in the 2020 election. He has pleaded not guilty.

In a statement posted to social media on June 13, DePerno said: “After watching the abuse of our legal system both here in Michigan, as well as across the country, it is 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. This has to stop. And that is why I am running for Supreme Court.”

There are two seats open on the Michigan Supreme Court in the Nov. 5, 2024, election. 

Justice David Vivanio announced earlier this year that he would retire from the bench when his term ends on Dec. 31. The election for his seat would be up for a full eight-year term. Justice Kyra Harris Bolden, who was appointed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2022 to replace Chief Justice Bridget McCormack, who resigned from the bench that year, must run for reelection to finish out her term. Bolden’s seat is up for a partial four-year term.

The role of Michigan Supreme Court justice is considered nonpartisan, but to get on the ballot, a candidate must be nominated by a state party convention. The Democratic and Republican conventions are scheduled to take place in August.

Democrats currently hold a 4-3 majority on the court: Democratic Gov. Whitmer appointed one judge; voters selected three judges who were nominated as candidates by the Democratic Party; and three judges were appointed by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder. Depending on the outcome of this year’s election, the court will end up with either a 5-2 Democratic majority or a 4-3 Republican majority.

The Michigan Democratic Party has endorsed Bolden and Kimberly Ann Thomas, a University of Michigan law professor, to fill the open seats on the court.

In addition to DePerno, Branch County Judge Patrick William O’Grady, Romulus lawyer Alexandria Taylor, Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Mark Boonstra, and state Rep. Andrew Fink are running for the Republican nomination.

DePerno was the Michigan Republican Party’s nominee for attorney general in the 2022 midterm election. He lost the race to incumbent Democrat Dana Nessel by almost 9%.

Shortly after the 2022 election, DePerno entered the race to become chair of the Michigan Republican Party. Former Michigan secretary of state candidate Kristina Karamo beat DePerno to lead the state party; she has since been replaced.

After DePerno announced his Michigan Supreme Court candidacy, Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes issued a statement calling DePerno “unfit to serve on the highest court in the state.”

“The stakes have never been higher for these Supreme Court races – if Trump’s MAGA loyalists are elected, they will do everything in their power to drag our state backward,” Barnes said.

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