By: - August 13, 2021 2:32 pm

Rep. Ryan Berman | House GOP photo

State Rep. Ryan Berman (R-Commerce Twp.) announced his bid for attorney general on Wednesday. Berman has been a frequent critic of Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s COVID-19 response and Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel’s plans to shut down Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac. 

In his campaign announcement, Berman said he values “the rule of law and fully (supports) our law enforcement community.” 

“The only way to build trust in government is advancing transparency, accountability and integrity at all levels,” Berman said. “That is not happening today in Lansing.”

Attorney General Dana Nessel | Susan J. Demas

Berman did not immediately return a request for comment. If he were to win the nomination at the GOP state convention next year, he would face Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel in the November 2022 election. 

Matthew DePerno, a Kalamazoo attorney who has made numerous false statements and accusations about the 2020 general election, has also formed a fundraising committee to run for attorney general. 

Former state House Speaker Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt), who lost to Nessel by 3 points in 2018, also is viewed as a potential candidate. 

Berman first won his election for state representative in 2018. In 2020, he won his second term, beating his Democratic opponent, Julia Pulver, by 5 points, despite Democratic President Joe Biden handily winning Oakland County. 

Berman has frequently spoken out against Whitmer’s COVID-19 response, saying if he were the attorney general, Whitmer would not have been granted authority for her emergency declaration unless she received approval from the GOP-led Legislature. He was also a critic of Nessel declining to investigate Whitmer’s handling of COVID-19 in Michigan nursing homes due to lack of evidence of wrongdoing. 

Nessel campaign spokeswoman Kimberly Bush said in a statement Wednesday that Nessel has worked to fulfill her campaign promises and said voters will continue to recognize that. 

“Nessel has never shied away from fighting for her constituents,” Bush said. “The voters of this state recognize this and don’t want to turn the clock back to when this office was primarily used to shield special interests and partisan priorities.”

Lavora Barnes, chair of the Michigan Democratic Party, said in a statement Wednesday that Berman cannot be trusted as AG. 

“Given the things he’s said and done, it is safe to assume that he cannot be trusted,” Barnes said. “He would attempt to overturn the will of the people, throwing out the votes of Michiganders just because he didn’t like how they voted. As someone that can’t stop talking about the “Big Lie,” he is a fool to expect that Michigan voters would support him.”  

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Julia Forrest
Julia Forrest

Julia Forrest is a contributor to the Michigan Advance. She has been covering Michigan and national politics for two years at the Michigan Daily and OpenSecrets. She studies public policy at the University of Michigan.