Advance Notice: Briefs

Dominion demands retraction from ex-GOP senator for ‘duping’ thousands with election fraud claims

By: - April 6, 2021 6:41 am

Former Sen. Pat Colbeck

Former state Sen. Pat Colbeck (R-Canton) is the latest right-wing figure to be in the crosshairs of Dominion Voting Systems after the 2020 election.

Colbeck, who was elected as a tea party candidate in 2010, was term-limited in 2018. He unsuccessfully ran for governor as a Republican that year, losing to then-Attorney General Bill Schuette in the primary. Colbeck has since reinvented himself as an authority on elections, protesting absentee vote counting at the TCF Center in Detroit and testifying before the Legislature and Board of State Canvassers.

Now-President Joe Biden defeated former President Donald Trump by more than 150,000 votes in Michigan, but many Republican activists have refused to accept the loss.

Colbeck filed an affidavit in a pro-Trump lawsuit claiming the TCF Center computers were connected to the internet. Judge Timothy Kenny said there was “no evidence” of that and tossed the suit. Kenny also noted in his opinion that Colbeck had posted on Facebook before the election that “Democrats were using COVID as a cover for Election Day fraud.”

“His predilection to believe fraud was occurring undermines his credibility as a witness,” Kenny wrote.

Colbeck also appeared at other rallies protesting Trump’s 2020 loss, including one at the Michigan Capitol on Jan. 6, the day of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and has done a video and presentations alleging election irregularities.

Dominion, a voting machine and election software manufacturer, has been the subject of attacks and conspiracy theories from several of Trump’s allies. The company has sued Fox News, as well as former Trump attorney Sidney Powell and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.

The company says in a letter obtained by the Detroit News that Colbeck made “demonstrably false claims” about the 2020 election results and demanded that he retract “falsely blaming Dominion for stealing the election from former President Trump.”

“You are knowingly sowing discord in our democracy, all the while soliciting exorbitant amounts of money — totaling over $1 million so far — from your audiences paid directly to your personal business,” the letter reads.

Colbeck issued a press release Monday claiming the suit was part of an “orchestrated campaign.”

“Their letter is yet another example of an orchestrated campaign by election fraud-deniers to infringe upon our fundamental civil rights such as our first amendment rights to freedom of speech and the redress of grievances,” Colbeck said.

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Susan J. Demas

Susan J. Demas is a 21-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 4,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 70 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.