WASHINGTON — With the final results tallied in Michigan’s primary election, several far-right extremist Republican state legislative candidates will be on the ballot for the general election. Across the board, the GOP nominated dangerous candidates who will end safe and legal abortion access, push conspiracy theories, and undermine our elections. The support for these candidates on Tuesday proves that far-right extremists will continue to be the face of the Michigan Republican Party.
“It is no surprise that the Michigan GOP has put forward a slate of extremist candidates that have no place in public life, let alone elected office,” said DLCC President Jessica Post. “Michigan Republicans are focused on passing more and more unpopular laws instead of delivering real benefits to working Michiganders. Meanwhile, Democrats are fighting for policies like improving our roads, ensuring clean water for Michiganders, and keeping good-paying jobs in the state. If given the majority this fall, state Democrats will fight back against GOP extremism and lower costs for families all over the Great Lake State.”
The Michigan GOP’s extremist candidates include:
- Diane Saber (HD-12): Saber attended the January 6th insurrection but claimed it was “a set up by the Democrats and RINO’s to make President Trump and his supporters look bad.” She has spread conspiracies about the election being stolen and about the “U.S. Corporation Constitution Treasonous Act of 1871” replacing the constitution.
- Steve Carra (HD-36): Carra signed on to a legal brief in support of overturning the 2020 presidential election results. Carra was also endorsed by President Trump in his failed run for U.S. House earlier this year before Trump endorsed an additional candidate in the race and Carra dropped out.
- Matt Maddock (HD-51): Maddock attended the January 6th insurrection as a sitting House representative and signed onto a legal motion calling to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. He is running to lead the Michigan Republican House caucus with former President Trump’s endorsement.
- Michelle Smith (HD-58): Smith believes the false claims of irregularities in the 2020 election and supported a phony, Republican-led election review. She also claims that abortion is “abhorrent.”
- Mike Aiello (HD-61): Aiello has a long history of failed campaigns for public office over the last decade alongside a long history of failing businesses that have been sued and audited for a myriad of reasons. He has used social media to spread both election conspiracy theories as well as misinformation concerning the COVID-19 pandemic, claiming that COVID-19 was “a PLANNED DEMIC,” that Fauci should go to prison, and that children should not wear masks or be vaccinated. Aiello attended anti-vaccine protests and supported alleged insurrectionist Ryan Kelly for governor.
- Norm Shinkle (HD-73): Shinkle refused to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election as a member of Michigan’s Board of State Canvassers, the only member to do so. Shinkle was also the subject of a sexual harassment and assault accusation in 1997 while serving as chair of the Michigan Tax Tribunal that was settled with $15,000 in taxpayer money.
- Jeremy Whittum (HD-76): As a county commissioner, Whittum supported a resolution to condemn President Biden’s decision to require vaccines at health care facilities. Whittum is also a former member of the “Guardians of the Constitution,” a militia-like group founded by a local sheriff.
- Jack O’Malley (HD-103): O’Malley signed on to a legal motion calling to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. O’Malley was endorsed by Right to Life of Michigan, which does not endorse candidates who support rape and incest exceptions to abortion bans.
- Gregory Markkanen (HD-110): Markkanen signed on to a legal motion calling to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. Markkanen was endorsed by Right to Life of Michigan, which does not endorse candidates who support rape and incest exceptions to abortion bans.
- Mike MacDonald (SD-11): In 2007, MacDonald pled guilty to drunk driving after a collision with a motorcyclist that resulted in life-threatening injuries and an amputated leg for the other driver.
- Lana Theis (SD-22): A once Tea Party-aligned candidate, Theis is the legislator who infamously sent the fundraising email accusing Sen. Mallory McMorrow of grooming and sexualizing children, leading to McMorrow’s now-viral floor speech pushing back on the GOP’s hate. Theis also called on legislators to “defend states’ rights” against federal court decisions on marriage equality and introduced a bill to ban trans kids from playing sports.
- Jim Runestad (SD-23): Runestad responded to the Parkland Shooting in 2018 with an opinion column calling for arming teachers.
- Ruth Johnson (SD-24): Despite being a former secretary of state, Johnson has tarnished her credibility by spreading election lies and sponsoring legislation in 2021 to limit ballot applications. In 2017, Johnson complied with former President Trump’s “Election Integrity Commission” and gave voter information to the former president’s commission. Johnson also has previously accepted money from an anti-vaccine group.
- Daylen Howard (SD-28): Howard, who believes that life begins at conception, praised the ruling that overturned Roe and received Right To Life of Michigan’s endorsement, which does not endorse candidates who support rape and incest exceptions to abortion bans. He has called himself a “life-long community member” despite public records showing he was registered to vote in Indiana as recently as 2019.
- Roger Victory (SD-31): Victory accepted money from an anti-vaccine group in 2018. After being criticized for supporting an anti-abortion law, Victory and fellow Republicans posed with women’s fashion magazines to show they understand women.
- Michele Hoitenga (SD-36): Hoitenga signed on to a legal motion calling to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. Hoitenga has sponsored multiple bills to undermine abortion rights in the state and supports allowing people to carry concealed guns without a permit or training.