Both echoed Trump’s claims about the 2020 election, and DePerno is at the center of the state’s investigation into vote tabulator tampering. Citing a conflict of interest, Nessel seeks a special prosecutor to decide if charges against DePerno are warranted.
DePerno held a fundraiser in March at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, where the former president spoke on DePerno’s behalf. DePerno’s campaign reported paying more than $9,000 for food, rental and room costs, but the donations appeared to be going to a separate super PAC supporting his candidacy.
The True Michigan PAC brought in $177,445 in March donations, including $18,200 from a company owned by Perry Johnson, the businessman who ran for governor of Michigan and attended the fundraiser Mar-a-Lago. Johnson was disqualified from the August primary ballot due to issues with his campaign petitions.
The super PAC raised $367,445 for the round and had about $124,065 in cash reserves as of July 20, according to a previously filed disclosure report.
DePerno’s campaign reported raising $577,258 in 2022 and a total of $768,990 for the cycle, well below the $1.6 million this year and the $3.7 million total raised by Nessel, a first-term Democrat seeking re-election.
DePerno’s campaign touted the number of donations he had received — 6,496, according to his disclosure report — rather than the cash total, arguing that those donations show Nessel is a “national embarrassment.”
“His campaign has drawn support from all 50 states in addition to the 3,300 Michiganders who are fed up with Nessel’s drunken run for power,” DePerno spokesman Tyson Shepard said.
“The people of Michigan realize they live under the most corrupt AG in the nation and Matt will continue to provide Michigan with a true fighter who believes in the law.”
Nessel’s campaign reported contributions from 16,820 donors, more than double DePerno’s. She received large sums from labor groups like SEIU Michigan ($71,500) and AFSCME ($51,500), according to her disclosure report.
Major individual donors to Nessel included California director Steven Spielberg, actress Monica Rosenthal, and Strategic Staffing Solutions CEO Cynthia Pasky of Detroit, who each gave Nessel the maximum of $7,150.
Nessel’s campaign said 65% of its contributors are Michigan-based and the average contribution was less than $100.
“Fans are putting their money behind Nessel through his tireless work on behalf of his constituents,” spokeswoman Sarah Stevenson said.
“Whether it’s fighting to preserve their reproductive rights, holding accountable those who worked to overturn the 2020 election results, aggressively prosecuting crimes against some of Michigan’s most vulnerable residents, or take legal action to reduce the cost of prescription drugs, voters know the people’s advocate has his back.
DePerno and Karamo appear to have alienated some traditional GOP donors, including the West Michigan Devos family, which backed other candidates at the party‘s endorsement convention and has yet to offer any financial support to presumed candidates.
At a press conference in April, Michigan GOP Chairman Ron Weiser urged “poor losers” to rally behind DePerno and Karamo and told reporters he intended to raise or donate personally “the resources necessary to succeed”.
The new disclosure reports show Weiser donated the maximum $7,150 to the Karamo and DePerno campaigns. Trump’s Save America PAC also gave $5,000 to each.