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Unknown Matt DePerno May Win in Michigan Solely As a Revenge Candidate

  • Attorney general hopeful Matt DePerno is trying to unseat incumbent Dana Nessel in Michigan.
  • Republicans in the state despise Nessel for enforcing Covid-related restrictions the past two years.
  • Anger at Nessel may be enough to sweep the little known DePerno into office.

EAST LANSING, Michigan — Attorney general hopeful Matt DePerno could have blurted out just about anything and gotten thunderous applause Sunday night from the frustrated locals he spoke to just 48 hours before the midterms election.

Because the only thing Republicans across the Wolverine State seem to expect from the barely known candidate is that his winning will make incumbent Democratic attorney general Dana Nessel suffer like they say they did during the pandemic.

“I want to see Dana Nessel out,” Daniel McEachin, a Macomb County resident said at a Republican rally in suburban Detroit. McEachin said his anger at the state’s current leadership, and Nessel specifically, stems from “how everything stayed closed” during quarantine and the “appointment-only bullshit” that bogged down daily living.

“It just made it really hard, through everything, to get a car registered,” he told Insider.

Paul Trendell, a Macomb County resident who said quarantine restrictions upended his life as a long-haul trucker, wants Nessel to know how dehumanizing that time was for him.

“You couldn’t walk up to a drive-thru window to get something to eat. You couldn’t use a rest stop restroom. Yet they wanted everything delivered,” Trendell told Insider, adding “they treated us like we were walking around with leprosy.”

The desire to punish Nessel, whose campaign site touts her fight against pandemic-related price gouging by corporations, promoting covid-related workplace protections, and combating the embattled former president’s baseless claims of election fraud, has clearly helped DePerno, a pair of seasoned Michigan Republicans said.

“Here’s a guy who hasn’t done anything,” John Truscott, one-time communications director for the former GOP Gov. John Engler and now CEO of public relations firm Truscott-Rossman, said of DePerno’s underdog bid.

Recent poll shows the Nessel-DePerno race is a dead heateven though Truscott said DePerno’s political outreach has been minimal.

One in 4 poll respondents said they dislike Nessel while 6 in 10 poll respondents said they hadn’t even heard of DePerno.

Jamie Roe, a longtime Republican strategist and owner of political consulting firm Team Roe, said fed-up voters’ hatred of Nessel likely outweighs any reservations about DePerno’s alleged involvement in trying to overturn Biden’s legal victory.

“She was the enforcement arm of the draconian orders of the governor during COVID. And she did it with zeal,” Roe said, adding that Nessel is “fighting on the wrong side of the woke culture wars.”

DePerno was all culture wars at the rally where he, Rep. Lisa McClain, Lt. Gov. hopeful Shane Hernandez, and former Florida attorney general and Trump impeachment lawyer Pam Bondi warmed up the crowd for headliner Tudor Dixon, the Trump-backed candidate challenging incumbent Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

“When I’m attorney general: No more lockdowns! No more vaccine mandates! No more mask mandates!” he told the crowd, who cheered for each promise.

DePerno also brought up crime, fentanyl, defunding the police, and parental rights — but didn’t say a word about election integrity.

A rally goer holds aloft a Trump flag during a campaign stop by GOP gubernatorial hopeful Tudor Dixon in Sterling Heights, Michigan on November 6, 2022.

A rally goer holds aloft a Trump flag during a campaign stop by GOP gubernatorial hopeful Tudor Dixon in Sterling Heights, Michigan on November 6, 2022.

Warren Rojas/Insider

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