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Grassroots Gains Huge Victory at The Michigan State Republican Endorsement Convention!

By, Michelle Hazekamp

April 28, 2022

Grassroots Comes Out in Droves!

Select Precinct Delegates throughout the state convened at the Republican State Endorsement Convention Saturday, April 23, at the Devos Place in Grand Rapids to elect who would become the Michigan Republican Party's endorsed candidates for Attorney General, Secretary of State, Michigan State University Trustee, U of M board of Regents, Wayne State Board of Governors, Supreme Court Justices and the Michigan State Board of Education in the upcoming November election. The grassroots delegates flooded the arena with almost 4,000 people at Saturday's event.

Over 2,000 delegates chosen from slates within each county GOP took part in the voting to ensure the grassroots, conservative candidate top picks were elected. Other's were there in support and to watch the proceedings.

Call to Order

Former House of Representative for the 2nd Congressional District and U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands, Pete Hoekstra officiated the day long convention. The Convention was called to order at 10:00 am on Saturday and lasted throughout the entire day, ending around 8:00pm. Two rounds of voting were scheduled; the first scheduled to begin at 1:45 pm. Three minute presentations given prior to voting by each candidate to persuade the delegates vote in their direction.

The candidates included,

Attorney General candidates;

  • Matthew DePerno (Trump Endorsed)

  • Tom Leonard

  • Rryan Berman

Secretary of State:

  • Kristina Karamo (Trump Endorsed)

  • Cindy Berry

  • Beau LaFave

Michigan State Board of Trustees:

  • Mike Balow

  • Melanie Foster

  • Dr. Travis Menge

  • Rick Wendorf

University of Michigan Board of Regents:

  • Lauren Hantz

  • Sevag Vartanian

  • Andrea Fischer Newman

  • Lena Epstein (Trump Endorsed)

Wayne State Board of Governors

  • Craig Wilsher

  • Christa Murphy

State Board of Education:

  • Linda Lee Tarver

  • Michelle Frederick

  • Richard Zeile

  • Tamara D. Carlone

Michigan Supreme Court:

  • Brian Zahra

  • Paul Hudson

A Diamond in the Rough!

In the first round of voting, Secretary of State candidate, Kristina Karamo, won by a landslide. During her 3 minute speech prior to voting, the applause and cheers thundering through the auditorium was unmatched for any other candidate along with standing ovations. It was as if President Trump had been introduced to the stage. She was truly the favored candidate and emanates a powerfully anointed demeanor that ignites the crowd as soon as she enters a room. She is truly a diamond in the rough for Michigan. Kristina has pledged to investigate the election fraud and restore integrity back into our elections.

The Convention ran fairly smooth, with only a couple of formalities. Technical difficulties occurred with some candidate videos and many of became aware that Dominion voting machines were being used to count ballots. Thanks to concerned delegates, a hand counting committee was formed and approved by the MIGOP, after insisting upon it, well before the convention took place. The hand counters were given 90 minutes after each voting session to count the ballots. This extended the time of the Convention, but it was a guarantee that election integrity was taking place. Surprisingly, but thankfully, there were no discrepancies between the machines and the hand counts.

What is a State Endorsement Convention?

State Conventions are held every election year by both the Republican Party and the Democrat Party. This is where the list of multiple candidates running for the same elected office within the same political party are narrowed down to just one, majority favored candidate (or two in elected offices that contain more than one elected official) that the political party can get behind and begin endorsing for the main elections in November. Only Precinct Delegates are allowed to vote in these conventions. This is the most important role of a Precinct Delegate and why you should become one! Candidates for the Governors race are not weened out through this process, rather the Primary Elections is how that occurs.

Conventions are also how Presidential candidates are chosen for endorsement, by way of Precinct Delegates attending the National Convention.

Pre-Convention Festivities

The conventions lend to very long days, and festivities begin the night before. Candidates will host parties at various venues where delegates have the chance to meet and speak with them. Attorney .General candidate, Matt DePerno, held a MAGA party at the Monroe Center with food and drinks while S.O.S candidate Kristina Karamo and a few Governor candidates, Ryan Kelley, Perry Johnson and Ralph Rebrandt gave speeches to rally up the crowd in support of Matt DePerno and their own campaigns. Attorney General candidate, Ryan Berman, held his event at the Atwater Brewery and U of M Regent candidate, Sevag Sartanian, held his at Mojo's. Also, U of M Regent candidate, Lena Epstein held a breakfast Saturday morning for the delegates with special guests, Rudy Guliano (America's Mayor) and Mike Lindell (My Pillow Guy).

Most of the day was a waiting game as we sat and walked around talking to other delegates. The Devos Place had food vendors and candidate and merchandising tables set up in the back of the room for us to troll and spend money; for a good cause of course, Patriotism! Many of us went outside to enjoy the beautiful weather we were missing inside the convention.

First Round Voting Narrows Down Top Picks

When the results from the first round of voting were announced, Kristian Karamo was declared the victor for S.O.S., and the Attorney General candidates were narrowed down to Matt DePerno and Tom Leonard. Some of the University and State education board candidates were clear winners, but voting was required again to determine who the second endorsee would be.

Suspicious Activity

Everything ran smoothly until the 2nd round of voting was about to begin. We first were advised that the ballot would not have the names of the candidates listed, but the candidates would be represented by a letter (A, B, C, etc.). They displayed the names of the candidates with their corresponding letter on the overhead video screens for a short time, and also had it available on a piece of paper lying on the tables while filling out our ballot. Many of us were immediately concerned that this was an attempt for cheating, as it is known that the MIGOP is in favor of Tom Leonard for A.G. and Matt DePerno was in the lead. We were also concerned about making mistakes on our ballets due to confusion, and it just simply made no sense. Why not just use the ballots with the names on them that we used in the first round of voting? We knew which candidate choices we were to vote on, and if not, what was the problem with voting for everyone again?

Candidates Names Flip in Blink of an Eye

What grounded our fears was the fact that a few delegates noticed the U of M Regent candidates were flipped in a blink of an eye while displayed on the screen. It was brought to the attention of Lena Epstein (U of M Regent) and with her lawyer who was present, quickly had the voting paused. After about a half hour we were advised the situation had been fixed and voting resumed, however with little confidence amongst the delegates.

Many delegates left for home immediately after voting in the 2nd round. As we anxiously awaited the final outcome, those who chose to leave emptied the venue by at least half, not considering the fact that there might unexpectedly be a 3rd round of voting due to irregularities or a challenge to the final results. And, rumor did begin circulate that a possible 3rd vote might take place due to possible discrepancies with the A.G. candidates and we were told to not leave. Many of us reached out to those who left and asked them to return. Some did, most were unwilling. One thing I must point out is that Conventions are the most important duty a Precinct Delegate has. And that means it is your duty to stay at the Conventions for as long as it takes until adjournment has been decreed. If you want to make a difference, you need to vote. This could have had a great negative impact on the final results, generating a loss, rather than victory for the grassroots movement.

Grassroots Efforts Pays Off!

After the results were tabulated from the 2nd round of votes, the tireless efforts of the grassroots paid off. All of our favored, conservative grassroots candidates won; something that has never been done before! Matt DePerno won for A.G. with 54% of the votes. Our winners for Michigan State Board of Trustees are Travis Menge and Mike Balow and U of M Regents, Sevag Vartanian and Lena Epstein. The Michigan Board of Education Candidates was a challenge as there were three favored candidates among the delegates; Tami Carlone, Michelle Frederick and Linda Lee Tarver. All three were great, qualified candidates. Tami Carlone was a sure win, as she was the most favored, but it was a toss up between Tarver and Fredericks. Linda Lee Tarver ended up defeating Michelle Frederick with the majority of votes. Wayne State Board of Governors and the Supreme Court candidates were not voted on as there were only two candidates running for the two open positions available.

The Rise to Fight for Conservatism

The rise of the grassroots movement at the onset of Covid-19 has been hard at work fighting against evil ideologies that have been exposed and taken over the country. Our loss of freedoms and the trend towards socialism have weighed heavily on us, yet encourages us to continue fighting for what is right. Saturday victory gave us a renewed courage to continue pushing forward in this battle for conservatism and a return to the values that are held by our Biblical foundation.


Michelle Hazekamp is a Muskegon County business owner and a Delegate for the Muskegon County Republican Party and is now a candidate for Muskegon County Commissioner; 3rd District. She graduated from Grand Valley State University with a bachelore in Science and a minor in History.


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