Advance Notice: Briefs

Carone endorses Dixon, but remains on the ballot for the U.S. Taxpayers Party

By: - September 23, 2022 3:05 am

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 this week turned around and endorsed GOP gubernatorial nominee Tudor Dixon, although Carone’s name will still appear on the Nov. 8 ballot as U.S. Taxpayers Party’ gubernatorial nominee Donna Brandenburg’s running mate. 

Carone garnered national attention in 2020, including being parodied by “Saturday Night Live,” after she spread baseless claims of election fraud during former President Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s mock trial during a Michigan House Oversight Committee hearing. Trump lost the 2020 election to President Joe Biden in Michigan by more than 154,000 votes.

Carone made the announcement Tuesday, telling the Detroit News that she did not want to split the Republican vote. Dixon has consisted trailed Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in polling.

In Michigan gubernatorial elections, nominees from the non-major parties typically do not mount high-profile campaigns. However, Brandenburg has been doing social media streams, has joined a lawsuit seeking to “redo” the 2020 presidential election and is doing some advertising, like a digital billboard in the hotly contentious Traverse City area.

Donna Brandenburg billboard outside Traverse City, Sept. 3, 2022 | Susan J. Demas

Brandenburg and Carone launched their U.S. Taxpayers Party campaign in July after they were both kicked off the ballot as Republican candidates for office earlier in the year.

Brandenburg was one of five Republican gubernatorial candidates who were disqualified because they filed thousands of fraudulent petition signatures, while Carone’s GOP bids for the state Legislature were ended early because of campaign finance violations.

The U.S. Taxpayers Party of Michigan is an affiliate of the national Constitution Party, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has flagged as an extremist group. 

Brandenburg suggested during a Twitter Space that Carone had received threats and bribes, 9&10 News reported.

“If they are worried we will split votes, why don’t we ask Dixon to step down? Maybe people want to vote for me,” she reportedly said. 

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Andrew Roth
Andrew Roth

Andrew Roth is a former reporting intern with the Michigan Advance. He has been covering Michigan policy and politics for three years across a number of publications and studies journalism at Michigan State University.