Mellissa Carone speaks at a right-wing rally calling for a so-called “audit” of the 2020 election at the Michigan Capitol, Oct. 12, 2021 | Laina G. Stebbins
Mellissa Carone was disqualified on Tuesday from running in a Republican primary for the Michigan Senate by the Michigan Department of State.
Carone, who gained national attention as the star witness in Rudy Giuliani’s mock trial on baseless claims of fraud in the 2020 presidential election former President Donald Trump lost before the House Oversight Committee, was among 11 candidates disqualified because their campaign finance filings were out of compliance.
Carone had filed to run in the 11th Senate District after being disqualified from running for the Michigan House of Representatives because she submitted a faulty affidavit attesting that she had no outstanding campaign finance issues.
The Department of State announced that a total of 15 candidates had been bumped from the ballot.
That included incumbent Sen. Betty Jean Alexander (D-Detroit) who was disqualified for being out of compliance on campaign finance filings.
Alexander was elected to the Senate in a heavily blue district in 2018 in a major upset, defeating then-Sen. David Knezek (D-Dearborn Heights) in a Democratic primary without spending any money on the race.
Republican Jon Rocha also was disqualified Tuesday from running in the 78th House District.
Rocha, who was endorsed by Trump, gained statewide attention for various far-right stances on issues, including being among the first to suggest that Michigan should have legislation similar to that of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law – a position that at least eight of ten Republican candidates for governor have since adopted.
Former state Rep. Alberta Talabi (D-Detroit) was disqualified from running in the 3rd Senate District.
Seven other candidates were also disqualified for making false statements regarding their campaign finance compliance. They are Ronald Cole in the 7th House District; Eddie Kabacinski in the 14th House District; Vermon Molnar in the 7th Senate District; Chase Turner in the 49th House District; Lawanda Turner in the 11th House District; Kahlilia Davis for 36th District Court judge; and Chris Martin for 54B District Court judge.
Michigan election law requires that candidates state that “as of the date of the affidavit, all statements, reports, late filing fees, and fines required of the candidate or any candidate committee organized to support the candidate’s election under the Michigan campaign finance act … have been filed or paid.”
Four other candidates were disqualified because of missing information or information indicating they are not eligible in the jurisdiction for which they filed. They are Faiz Aslam in the 6th Congressional District; Michael Shallal in the 57th House District; Steven Thomas in the 31st Senate District; and Howard Weathington in the 3rd Senate District.
All 15 candidates disqualified Tuesday were done so based on their affidavit of identity, not the sufficiency of their nominating petitions.
The Board of State Canvassers has a meeting scheduled for May 26 to determine whether candidates required to submit nominating petitions have filed a sufficient number to make the ballot.
Republican gubernatorial candidate James Craig faces the risk of not making the Aug. 2 primary ballot after thousands of signatures his campaign submitted were alleged to be forged. His campaign has acknowledged that they may have been defrauded by petition circulators they contracted. GOP gubernatorial candidates Tudor Dixon and Perry Johnson have also had their nominating petitions challenged.
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