Michigan Republican resigns from GOP committee citing 'delusional lies'

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Lansing — Tony Daunt, a longtime Michigan Republican insider, resigned Tuesday night from the GOP's state committee, saying party leaders had made the coming election a test of "who is most cravenly loyal" to former President Donald Trump.

Daunt, who is one of two Republican members of the Board of State Canvassers, made the comment in an email addressed to Judy Rapanos, chairwoman of the 4th Congressional District Republican Committee. The message was obtained by The Detroit News.

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For five years, Daunt has been one of about 100 members of the Republican Party's state committee, a panel that helps guide the party's decisions. But that ended Tuesday with his immediate resignation, three days after a contentious GOP convention in Grand Rapids.

Tony Daunt

Instead of focusing on Democrats' "myriad failures," Daunt wrote that "feckless, cowardly party 'leaders' have made the election here in Michigan a test of who is the most cravenly loyal to Donald Trump and re-litigating the results of the 2020 cycle."

Daunt described Trump as a "deranged narcissist."

The former president has maintained unproven claims that fraud cost him Michigan's 2020 election, assertions that have divided the state's Republicans. Trump lost the 2020 race to Democrat Joe Biden by 154,000 votes or 3 percentage points.

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"Incredibly, rather than distancing themselves from this undisciplined loser, far too many Republican 'leaders' have decided that encouraging his delusional lies — and, even worse — cynically appeasing him despite knowing they are lies, is the easiest path to ensuring their continued hold on power, general election consequences be damned," Daunt wrote in his email.

"Rather than assembling the courage to do the right thing, at the right time, and guide the activist base towards the truth, they’ve repeatedly backed down and dissembled, hoping that just one more act of cowardice will be what does the trick."

Daunt's resignation was another sign of growing divisions within the Michigan Republican Party ahead of the 2022 election, in which the state will elect a governor and fill every seat in the state Legislature.

Daunt previously served as executive director of the Michigan Freedom Fund, the director of constituent relations for former Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and logistics director for the Michigan Republican Party.

His letter came three days after the Michigan Republican Party endorsement convention, where delegates selected Kristina Karamo and Matt DePerno, two Trump-backed candidates, to run for secretary of state and attorney general.

Karamo and DePerno rose to prominence questioning the 2020 election and have focused their campaigns on issues related to it.

Meshawn Maddock, the party's co-chairwoman, had endorsed Karamo and DePerno.