State GOP Chair candidate Matthew DePerno has filled out the Grand New Party’s candidate survey. He is the second individual to fill out our candidate survey. Please reach out to state GOP chair candidates and urge them to fill out the survey. It can be accessed here.
What are your fundraising goals for the 2024 election cycle and how do you plan to raise the money needed to perform the core functions of the state party, such as holding regular political conventions, field staff, and messaging?
We need to raise at least $50 million. My plan is threefold: (1) low dollar, (2) mid-level, and (3) large dollar. We can no longer rely on the traditional fundraisers and legacy donors who abandoned us in 2022. We must create a new donor class.
LOW DOLLAR. I raised approximately $1.4 million in low dollar donations in the Attorney General race from people in all 50 states. Garrett Soldano raised approximately $2 million in low dollar donations in his governor primary. We cannot ignore low dollar donors. Indeed, every dollar counts. We need to build on these two campaigns and create a robust low dollar, recurring donor program across the country through marketing and rebranding. However, we will never fund the state party through low dollar donations, which means demanding delegates fund the party is not realistic.
MID-LEVEL. We need to identify and target mid-level business owners and entrepreneurs who can give $2,500 or more. There are thousands of these people across the state who have been largely ignored by the party. They have been adversely affected by Whitmer, Benson, and Nessel. For instance, the restaurant industry was decimated by the liberal agenda. Marketing, rebranding, and benefits are important strategies to capture mid-level donors.
HIGH END. High dollar donors have different personalities and goals. I break them down into two groups: (1) in-state and (2) out-of-state. Make no mistake, none of these people have “abandoned” the party. They still exist and they identify as Republicans. They want to invest in a leader. Calling them names is sure fire way to stop them from donating.
The in-state legacy donors are looking for a leader who can unite people. They want a thoughtful and reasonable chair whose #1 goal is to beat Democrats and promote the party platform. They did not appreciate Ron Weiser’s methods. They despise using the party to launder their money. They do not want the party run by consultants. They want a highly functioning office, with regional locations, and an active messaging department. If we can elect a candidate who fits this profile, some will contribute. I am that candidate. They do not want a candidate who spreads Q-Anon theories and goes off message. They will never fund a candidate who they cannot trust to stay on message or who might, at the drop of a hat, start talking about adrenochrome or Pizza Gate.
Out-of-State donors exist. I’ve met them in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Texas, Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and California, South Dakota. They recognize Michigan is a swing state and important. But they also recognize that the Michigan Republican Party is largely divided. They don’t like that. They want to see a unified party with delegates who stop screaming at each other.
We need a leader who can talk to all of these groups and raise money through low dollar, mid-level, and high dollar platforms. I did that in the Attorney General race. I raised over $5.8 million by connecting with people and building relationships so they knew they could trust me. I also raised almost $1 Million for election integrity efforts across the country. Nobody else in Michigan comes close. My message has been “build it up and strength in numbers.” The strategy of “burn it down” is the worst marketing and fundraising strategy ever conceived. It will fail. My strategy of uniting people will succeed.
What strengths will you bring as a leader while serving as the next MRP Chair?
I am battle tested, just coming off the Attorney General race. I have institutional knowledge of how the system should work and how it failed. Garrett and I have been able to recruit, activate, mobilize, and inspire tens of thousands of grassroots volunteers. But I also crossed over and gained the trust of many so-called “establishment” people and donors.
The bottom line is State Party failed us candidates. That is an undeniable truth. But I have been in business 30 years as an attorney. I’ve been able to make deals when others thought it impossible. My experience is invaluable, both from a legal and transactional perspective. Of course I’m angry that we lost this election. I’m angry that people abandoned us as candidates. I’m angry that some people didn’t honor their commitments. But I am not vengeful. Unlike some other candidates in this race, I am not trying to secure this position to exact revenge on people within the party who failed us. I want this job in order to beat Democrats. I want to fix our state and promote conservative principles because it is better for our children. I have no interest in destroying the party.
Will you attempt to re-engage the so-called “Donor Class” that has typically funded Republican causes in Michigan in the past? Is it necessary to cultivate an entirely new “Donor Class” to fund MRP operations or can a middle ground be achieved? Please elaborate.
Yes, I will attempt to engage all donors. We are stronger together. As explained above, I will also cultivate new donors.
Do you agree with the vast majority of Republican Party elected officials who (like Democrats) pick winners and losers and support centralized planning through corporate welfare schemes, or do you believe in free markets and equal opportunity for all businesses in Michigan? Why?
I’m am a conservative constitutionalist. I believe in free markets and equal opportunity for all businesses. I have been fighting for people’s constitutional rights and freedoms for 30 years in court. I am not a “Johnny Come Lately” to this fight. My ideas have been formed over many years through hard work and experience. My opinions were not formed overnight by reading a Telegram blog. Some ideas I’ve heard in this race are largely unconstitutional and illegal. It’s is easy to throw red meat to delegates. But the job of chair is to promote the platform, raise money, and win elections. Seriously, some people need to read a few US Supreme Court decisions, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Oh yeah, and check out the 16th Amendment.
Although both are important, what is more important to you – unity around Republican politicians or unity around the principles of the Republican Party? Why? (Note: The GNP disavows all third-party candidates)
Unity around the Republican Party platform. The reality is I was largely abandoned by politicians. Unity is never achieved around people. It is achieved through ideas. Many of our Founding Fathers intensely disliked each other. They came together around the idea of beating an oppressive King and forming the greatest society and government on the planet. Too many people want to focus on themselves or each other.
Indeed, some create “little-g gods” of themselves. 2 Timothy 3 says “people will be lovers of themselves.” As a party and individually we must resist focusing on each other. My goal is to beat Democrats. We can unite around that idea. And frankly, that terrifies Democrats. They’d much rather we elect a candidate who is focused on internal tribalism and inter-party conflicts. And we have several of those candidates. The Democrats and media want us to focus our disputes on each other. That is good for team blue. Heck, we have at least 2 Democrats and 1 Independent in this race. Good job!
How will you protect the authority of precinct delegates as party chair and make sure their interests are put at the forefront of the MRP? Will you take our Precinct Protection Pledge to go on the record in support of the rights of precinct delegates and the expansion of those rights for delegates to choose candidates for additional elected offices? Pledge Available Here.
Yes, I will take the Precinct Protection Pledge. I support the rights of the precinct delegates.
I support expansion of the rights so long as it doesn’t conflict with the Constitution and state laws. If you want to change the Constitution and state law, there is a process to do that.
The Heartbeat Bill spurred a contentious debate within the Pro-Life movement of Michigan.
Right to Life of Michigan and the Michigan Catholic Conference argued the heartbeat bill would have jeopardized the 1931 full ban on abortion (MCL 750.14).
The Heartbeat Coalition and Jay Sekulow’s American Center for Law and Justice carefully wrote the heartbeat bill with clause 8(4) that reads “nothing in this act shall be construed to repeal or amend, explicitly or by implication, any provision of law prohibiting or regulating abortion, including, but not limited to… MCL 750.14, 750.15, 750.322, and 750.323.
Who do you believe was right about the Heartbeat Bill and what do you think the Pro-Life movement needs to do moving forward to protect life in the aftermath of the passage of Proposal 3?
I support the Heartbeat Bill. My position of this and my clash with Right to Life of Michigan was an important issue and widely publicized prior to the April 2022 convention for the Attorney General endorsement. I was endorsed by the Michigan Heartbeat Coalition, Janet Porter, and Abby Johnson. Proposal 3 is unconstitutional. We need good lawyers and a compelling plaintiff to bring that challenge.
How will you use the authority of the MRP to fight voter fraud in the state of Michigan and make sure that election integrity is restored? How will you effectively fight back against Democrats in power who refuse to enforce the law?
I filed the lawsuit in Antrim county. I was the only attorney who successfully devised a strategy to get a court order to collect a forensic image, use tabulators, and study the Dominion system. My data was used around the country and helped start the Arizona audit. I have been labeled by the media as the person who “started the audit craze.”
I put my life on hold. I was attacked by the media relentlessly and publicly. I was investigated, attacked, and criticized by the most corrupt attorney general in the country, all for political reasons.
I raised almost a million dollars for election integrity efforts. Nobody has done more in this area in Michigan than I have.
And yet even that isn’t enough for some people.
I also know, because I lived it, that we will not win this fight in the courts. Any candidate promoting the idea of “defensive litigation” doesn’t understand the issue. That doesn’t mean we abandon legal efforts. To the contrary, we need a robust, large legal department at MRP. But it must be strategic and thoughtful. I obtained a court order to study the Dominion system because I was strategic. Some candidates just want notoriety.
The Constitution vests control over the elections in the legislative branch. However, in 2018, our Michigan legislature passed a law giving that authority to the executive branch through the Secretary of State. This was an unconstitutional nondelegation of authority. It must be fought and those laws must be repelled.
With the youth trending toward leftism on social issues, what is your plan to re-engage the youth and reverse this slide toward socialism that puts our nation’s future in jeopardy? Do you believe that Republicans should trend toward the middle or focus on winning the arguments to engage the youth?
The socialists have been fighting this game for 60 years. Republicans have sat at home getting old. Republicans collectively abandoned our children to school boards and mocked Hillary Clinton for writing “It Takes A Village.” Now who’s laughing?
The chair cannot fix this problem alone or quickly. This is a societal problem that will take decades to resolve.
I have 3 conservative adult children. They didn’t get that way overnight. It takes conversation. We need to make the MRP fun again. We need a greater presence on social media. We need a presence on college campuses. We need to bring in speakers who can actually speak to the youth. We need to help them get jobs and succeed. We need to make sure they are heard on the issues they care about and have the thoughtful conversation about how their issues are largely conservative based.
We cannot force the younger generation to automatically adopt the views of 50 year old men. It is stupid and unrealistic.
Do you think the Republican Legislature did the right thing in December by not sending strong policies to the governor believing she would veto them or do you think they should have put her on record for vetoing bills–such as ensuring males don’t compete against women in women’s sports? Will you use your power as MRP Chair to compel the Michigan state legislature to support strong legislation instead of coming up with excuses for inaction? How will you use the bully pulpit of the Party to enforce principled behavior by elected lawmakers?
No, the legislature should have stacked Whitmer’s desk with bills promoting the conservative agenda. Not just in December, but for the last 2 years. Had the legislature done so, our candidates would have been in a better position to point out the bills Whitmer vetoed.
As the chair, I will rebrand the party and significantly revamp and increase the MRP communications department to promote the party platform and conservative ideals.
I will also increase and strengthen relationships and communication with legislative leaders (which currently is nonexistent). By increasing delegate recruitment, enhancing education for delegates, and empowering county and district chairs, the MRP will improve our candidate vetting process for the legislature, which will in turn put pressure on them to push the party platform and promote the conservative agenda.
But this isn’t a one-way street. The elected people must feels support from the party. The current GOTV effort by MRP is garbage. Candidates and elected people have no support and feel abandoned. If we want to improve relationships, then we better raise money, support our candidates, and win elections. MRP has not filled that space in past years. Instead, lobbyists and other 501(c)(4) and 527 organizations have taken a foothold.
Will special interest groups and lobbyists influence the MRP? Will they be shut out entirely? Are there any lobbying groups or special interest groups (on issues such as gun rights or abortion) that you feel are worthwhile?
Special interest groups will always influence politics. The US Supreme Court decided this in Citizens United. That doesn’t mean they will influence me or MRP. They will not.
During the Attorney General race, I met some good special interest groups and lobbyists who really cared about raising money to promote conservative agendas. I met others who were hot garbage.
Politics is a relationship business. If we can build relationships with quality groups who promote the conservative platform and can help raise money to beat Democrats and win back the majorities in the house and senate, then I will welcome their support.
For those groups who backstab, run down our candidates behind closed doors, and don’t satisfy their commitments, then I will not do business with them.