Conspiracy-driven Macomb County GOP slams state Republicans for alienating Trump-endorsed candidates

Feb 3, 2022 at 1:18 pm
click to enlarge There's a rift in Michigan's Republican Party. - Shutterstock
There's a rift in Michigan's Republican Party.

The head of the Macomb County Republican Party blasted the state GOP in a rambling, conspiracy-laden tirade, accusing party leaders of scheming against Trump-endorsed candidates and ignoring what he falsely called a “coup” in the 2020 election.

The rift is significant because Macomb is now the largest Republican-dominated county in the state and is credited with delivering Trump his victory in Michigan in 2016.

In a “message to my fellow patriots” posted on Rumble, a video platform popular with right-wing figures, Macomb County GOP Chairman Mark Forton said the state party is recruiting candidates to run against loyal supporters of former President Donald Trump. He singled out Michigan GOP Co-Chair Meshawn Maddock, saying she told him that Trump-endorsed candidates can’t win elections.

“Trump is the leader of our party, but it goes to show that in Washington ... our Republicans wanted him out just as bad as the Democrats did,” Forton said. “He upset the apple cart of all these people who worked together with their buddies. They’re all colleagues against the people of Michigan and America.”

Nevermind that Maddock and her husband state Rep. Matt Maddock, R-Milford, have been Trump loyalists since 2016 and repeatedly worked to undermine Joe Biden’s victory in Michigan.

Whatever the case, Forton spoke like a man at war against evil.

“We’re trying to save our state, trying to regain our constitution, trying to regain a future for our children that they currently don’t have,” Forton said.

He added, “We’re in trouble, folks. We’re going to stand up or we’re all going to die. That’s it.”

The Macomb County party is supporting fringe candidates who are calling for audits of the election. One of them is attorney general candidate Matthew DePerno, who continues to push baseless conspiracy theories about election fraud. He filed a lawsuit in 2020 that alleged Dominion Voting Systems election software and machines were “corrupted,” a claim that has been repeatedly bunked.

According to Forton, state GOP leaders are backing DePerno’s Republican contender, former Michigan House Speaker Tom Leonard, who was narrowly defeated by Dana Nessel in the general election in 2018.

Forton also said the state party is backing a challenger to Mellissa Carone, a Trump supporter who is running for a state House seat in the Detroit suburbs. Carone was a contractor for Dominion Voting Systems and made numerous false claims about election fraud during a House Oversight Hearing in December.

Forton complained that the state party also is recruiting a candidate to run against Jacky Eubanks, a candidate for state House who was endorsed by Trump. Among her top goals is initiating a “full forensic audit” of the election and passing legislation to end mask and vaccine mandates in Michigan.

According to Forton, the FBI is investigating her for voter interference.

“This young lady has a future,” Forton said. “She wants an audit. She knows the election was stolen. She’s got to be destroyed. They have the FBI investigating her for voter intimidation.”

The Michigan GOP didn’t respond to Metro Times’ request for comment.

A recent poll showed that only 31% of likely Michigan voters view Trump favorably, a decline that could spell trouble for Republican candidates who are seen as too loyal to the former president. Political observers have warned that pushing Trump-endorsed candidates would likely hurt Republicans’ chances in the general election.

Forton doesn’t see it that way.

“Donald Trump won the state of Michigan overwhelmingly,” he falsely claimed. “If you don’t like that, that’s fine. We have tons of evidence. You prove it. We want proof that he did not.”

State and local audits, courts, and even Trump’s own administration have repeatedly said there was no evidence of widespread fraud.

As Republicans on the state and national level begin to move past false claims of election fraud, many local GOP groups like the Macomb County Republican Party continue to peddle baseless conspiracy theories. Progress Michigan, a progressive advocacy group, reviewed Facebook pages and groups controlled by county Republican parties and found that 64% of them have pushed election lies between Nov. 3 and June 30. Of the active Facebook pages, an astounding 88% alluded to false claims of electoral wrongdoing.

Sam Inglot, deputy director of Progress Michigan, says Forton’s rant is worrisome because it shows that Trump supporters are still pushing lies.

“What this video shows, and what we’ve seen since then, is that there is a real big problem with misinformation and conspiracy theories in the Republican Party that the party either doesn’t want to address or is complicit in,” Inglot tells Metro Times. “It’s dangerous. It’s not rooted in reality.”

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