Former President Donald Trump set to return to Michigan in April

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Lansing — Former President Donald Trump is scheduled to rally his supporters in Michigan on April 2, three weeks before a pivotal state Republican Party convention.

The event, his first stop in the state since the night before the November 2020 presidential election, will take place at 7 p.m. at the Michigan Stars Sports Center in Washington Township.

Trump plans to speak in support of Republicans Matthew DePerno, whom he endorsed to be Michigan's next attorney general, and Kristina Karamo, whom he endorsed for secretary of state. Both candidates are in competitive races for GOP nominations on April 23 when Republican delegates will endorse nominees at a convention in Grand Rapids.

Former President Donald Trump points to a supporter before speaking at a rally at the Lorain County Fairgrounds, Saturday, June 26, 2021, in Wellington, Ohio.

During a fundraiser for DePerno on March 8 at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort, the ex-president told the crowd he was "going to go" to Michigan. Two days later, DePerno said the logistics of the event had been discussed and his campaign was working on the details with Trump's team.

"President Trump coming to do this rally demonstrates he is 100% invested in ensuring Matt DePerno is the Republican nominee for attorney general," said Tyson Shepard, DePerno's campaign manager.

The visit to Michigan will be Trump's first since the night before the Nov. 3, 2020 presidential election when he closed his unsuccessful campaign in Grand Rapids and joked he wouldn't come back to the state if he lost.

DePerno, a Kalamazoo lawyer, rose to prominence challenging election results in northern Michigan's Antrim County. He is one of three Republicans pursuing their party's nomination for attorney general.

The winner of the convention race will take on Attorney General Dana Nessel, the Democratic incumbent, in the fall.

Former state House Speaker Tom Leonard of DeWitt, who's also running for the GOP nomination, lost to Nessel by less than 3 percentage points in 2018. Trump last month issued a letter to Michigan GOP delegates, criticizing Leonard.

Leonard has been endorsed by 44 Republican county prosecutors, Right to Life of Michigan, the Police Officers Association of Michigan and a majority of the Republican members of the state Legislature.

"Our campaign is focused on building support with grassroots activists who make up our party," Leonard said Friday. "They know who I am, and they know what we can accomplish together."