Trouble with the law in Michigan GOP

A Barry County sheriff investigating false claims that the 2020 election was stolen is now under investigation himself. WDET’s Cheyna Roth talks and Craig Mauger break down what’s going on with the GOP primary race for governor.

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A lot has happened in the Michigan GOP this week. In this episode of Mich Mash, WDET’s Cheyna Roth and Craig Mauger of The Detroit News break it all down.

In this episode:

  • The investigation (and counter-investigation) into election tampering by Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf
  • GOP gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelley being arrested by the FBI for his involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection
  • Secretary of State’s office investigation of nonprofit organizations that support Michigan House Majority Leader Mike Shirkey

Trouble with the law

Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf is being investigated for his efforts to examine unfounded claims of fraud in the state’s 2020 election. Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office is investigating Leaf’s potential involvement in efforts to tamper with voting machines in Barry and Roscommon Counties.

Seems confusing right? It is.

“It is just that wild,” says The Detroit News’ Craig Mauger. “You have a sheriff trying to get ahead of an investigation into him by suing the state’s top law enforcement official.”

“What state officials are trying to figure out is: Who was behind this effort? Who funded this effort? Are these different instances connected? How high up does this push to get access to Michigan’s voting machines go?”

Ryan Kelley arrested

On Thursday, Ryan Kelley was arrested at his home in Allendale by the FBI. Kelley is being charged with four misdemeanors for his direct involvement in the 2020 insurrection at the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

While such an arrest could sink his candidacy, at least in the short term, it will improve his name recognition among Michigan GOP voters.

“I think there’s no doubt this is going to help his bid in the primary race,” says Mauger.

More trouble

Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig has said he will run as a write-in candidate for the GOP gubernatorial primary after his bid to run was rejected due to fraudulent petition signatures.

Finally, the Michigan Secretary of State’s office has referred to the state’s Attorney General Dana Nessel an investigation into two nonprofits linked to Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey.

“This could uncover an element of Michigan politics that we have never seen before,” says Mauger.

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  • David Leins
    David Leins is a Podcast Coordinator and Producer at WDET. He also oversees the StoryMakers program. When he isn't making radio and podcasts, David is probably on a hike somewhere marveling at the trees.