Advance Notice: Briefs

Lawsuit seeks Rep. Maddock’s removal from Nov. ballot for allegedly ‘engaging in insurrection’

By: - August 4, 2022 7:56 am

State Rep. Matt Maddock and Michigan GOP co-chair Meshawn Maddock attend a right-wing rally at the state Capitol, Feb. 8, 2022 | Laina G. Stebbins

A lawsuit seeks to remove state Rep. Matt Maddock (R-Milford) from the Nov. 8 general election ballot due to what were called “his violations of his oath of office and attempts to illegally overturn the 2020 election while pushing the Big Lie.”

The suit, filed with the Michigan Court of Appeals (COA), was brought by Oakland County voter Lee Estes, who alleged that Maddock “has ‘engaged in insurrection’ in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment and therefore is ineligible to serve as a candidate for or a member of the Michigan Legislature.”

Ryan Kelley participates in a GOP gubernatorial debate on WKAR’s Off the Record, July 15, 2022 | Laina G. Stebbins

A similar suit brought by Estes sought to disqualify GOP gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelley from Tuesday’s ballot, but was eventually rejected by the COA as having been filed less than 28 days before the primary, and thus “did not speedily request relief.” 

Kelley, who is charged for his actions during the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection attempt, ended up finishing fourth in the gubernatorial race, behind right-wing commentator Tudor Dixon, businessman Kevin Rinke and chiropractor Garrett Soldano. Kelley has refused to concede and claimed to the Advance, without evidence, that there were.”unprecedented oddities” in the election.

As it did with the Kelley lawsuit, the liberal advocacy group Progress Michigan assisted with research and financial support for the latest litigation.

“Before, during and after the November 2020 election, Matt Maddock was one of the ringleaders who sought to use illegal means – in violation of his oath of office – to try to overturn a free and fair election,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. “Actions have consequences and Maddock’s actions surrounding the 2020 election demand accountability. He’s spread lies and misinformation, attempted to subvert the will of voters, and betrayed the oath he swore to uphold.”

Progress Michigan further alleges Maddock helped organize a “mob that descended upon the former TCF Center in Detroit in an illegal attempt to stop the counting process, spread misinformation and lies about the election results, signed onto clearly frivolous lawsuits, and was part of a cadre of Republican activists and elected officials who posed as fake electors in a plot to overturn the results of the November 2020 election.”

Michigan Republican Party Co-Chair Meshawn Maddock at a GOP gubernatorial debate in Warren, June 30, 2022 | Laina G. Stebbins

Maddock was one of 11 Republican House members to put their names to briefs in a failed lawsuit that sought to overturn election results and one of five GOP legislators who attempted to enter the Michigan Capitol on Dec. 14, 2020, with a slate of 16 fake Republican electors. One of whom was his spouse, Michigan GOP Co-Chair Meshawn Maddock. They are close allies of Trump.

Matt Maddock did not respond to a request for comment.

Maddock will face Democratic candidate Sarah May-Seward in the November election, after both ran unopposed in their respective primaries on Tuesday.

May-Seward told Michigan Advance that she supported the decision to bring the matter to court. 

“Elected officials should be held to their Oath of Office and the Constitution,” she said. “If the court finds that Matt Maddock violated either of these, he should accept the rule of law.”

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Jon King
Jon King

Jon King has been a journalist for more than 35 years. He is the Past President of the Michigan Associated Press Media Editors Association and has been recognized for excellence numerous times, most recently in 2021 with the Best Investigative Story by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Cleary University. Jon and his family live in Howell, where he also serves on the Board of Directors for the Livingston Diversity Council.