Conspiracy theorist leads campaign to censure Michigan Republicans who debunked election claims

click to enlarge Former state Sen. Patrick Colbeck, a prominent conspiracy theorist, often speaks at local GOP events. - STEVE NEAVLING
Steve Neavling
Former state Sen. Patrick Colbeck, a prominent conspiracy theorist, often speaks at local GOP events.

Former state Sen. Patrick Colbeck, an outspoken conspiracy theorist who continues to push baseless claims about widespread election fraud, is pressing the Michigan GOP to censure Republican senators who debunked false allegations of electoral wrongdoing in a recent report.

Colbeck launched a petition this week calling on the state party to censure state Sens. Edward McBroom, Lana Theis, and John Bizon. More than 1,750 people have signed the petition so far.

The three Republicans, along with Senate Oversight Committee Minority Vice Chair Sen. Jeff Irwin, a Democrat, concluded in a report issued on June 23 that there is no evidence of widespread fraud following an eight-month investigation.

Colbeck was most incensed over the report’s suggestion that the Michigan Attorney General’s Office should investigate people who have profited from false claims about fraud in Antrim County. Colbeck and other loyalists of former President Donald Trump have peddled wild conspiracies that Dominion Voting system tabulators were rigged and switched votes from Trump to Joe Biden.

Even as audits and courts refuted the claims, Colbeck raised money to peddle the conspiracy theory.

In April, Dominion demanded that Colbeck retract the “false claims” he was making about the company and accused him of waging a “disinformation campaign.”

"The Committee recommends the attorney general consider investigating those who have been utilizing misleading and false information about Antrim County to raise money or publicity for their own ends," the report states. "The many hours of testimony before the Committee showed these claims are unjustified and unfair to the people of Antrim County and the state of Michigan."

In the petition, Colbeck insists the three Republicans are trying to stifle his free speech rights.

“With this declaration, the Committee has declared the constitutional rights to freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom to seek redress for our grievances to be null and void,” Colbeck wrote in the petition. “They are asserting that anyone who disagrees with their flawed assessment of the election particularly in matters regarding Antrim County should be investigated by the Attorney General. They have in fact weaponized the state against citizens who disagree with them.” 

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

The party’s co-chair Meshawn Maddock attended a rally last month in which Colbeck and other Trump loyalists demanded an Arizona-style “forensic audit” of the 2020 election. She and her husband, state Rep. Matt Maddock, attended the rally and have pushed false claims about election fraud.

But the party’s executive director, Jason Roe, has denied there’s evidence of election malfeasance, which prompted conservative activists to label him a “traitor” and call for his removal.

County GOP parties have censured U.S. Reps. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, and Peter Meijer, R-Grand Rapids, for voting to impeach Trump for inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection.

The censures underscore the deep division among Republicans about the direction of the party. Some want to move past Trump, while others see him as the future of the party.

Metro Times couldn’t reach Colbeck for comment.

Stay connected with Detroit Metro Times. Subscribe to our newsletters, and follow us on Google News, Apple News, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Reddit.

About The Author

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
Scroll to read more Metro Detroit News articles
Join the Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.

Newsletters

Join Detroit Metro Times Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.