LANSING, Mich. (MIRS News) – So-called “Ultra MAGA” candidates, alt-conservative Republicans who have adopted an “America First” isolationist philosophy, swept GOP county conventions across Michigan on Thursday night in the runup to the Michigan Republican Party convention on Aug. 27 in Lansing.

In Macomb and Hillsdale counties, personality conflicts and ideological battles caused warring factions to hold competing county conventions, causing the state GOP to decide whose delegates to seat, according to The Detroit News.

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But from Ottawa County to Oakland County to the Upper Peninsula, new faces were seen showing up to conventions and casting votes for slates that defeated those candidates supported by traditional Republican leadership, according to a dozen sources who spoke with MIRS Friday.

The outcropping was encouraged by Michigan Republican Party Co-Chair Meshawn Maddock, presumed Attorney General nominee Matt DePerno and presumed Secretary of State nominee Kristina Karamo as a way to unify around the ticket coming out of convention, according to a source.

“Last night was a historic night in Michigan,” Maddock wrote on Facebook. “All over the state, thousands of America First New Patriot delegates answered the call to join the party to reclaim our great state and our nation! We have doubled the size of our Army. We are ready to work. They are hungry for change.”

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Those inspired by Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again (MAGA) want to stay active in inner-party politics, despite seeing their candidates have mixed results in the Aug. 2 primary elections.

These activists have been referred to by President Joe Biden as being “Ultra MAGA.”

By and large, the Ultra MAGA still believe widespread election fraud caused Trump’s defeat in 2020. Their distrust of elected authority, the “establishment” and traditional media has spread to law enforcement, with the recent FBI raid of Trump’s residence on Mar-a-Lago being the latest unifying conversation piece.

They believe Attorney General Dana Nessel’s investigation into likely General Election opponent DePerno over voting machine theft is 100% politically motivated and that she and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer should be the ones investigated.

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The Ultra MAGA’s sign of strength on Thursday serves two important functional purposes going into the Aug. 27 convention.

First, it solidified DePerno’s nomination as Attorney General and Karamo’s nomination for Secretary of State. Both won the party’s endorsement in April with Trump’s endorsement. Both are seen as courageous pioneers on the election fraud issue, even though both have long moved away from the topic as a talking point to general audiences.

Under the state party convention rules, a 75% supermajority would be needed for the party to select someone else, which one high-level GOP source called “nearly impossible.”

Second, it gives the convention significant sway in the fate of gubernatorial nominee Tudor Dixon’s running mate. Under the convention rules, Dixon’s lieutenant governor will be brought before the convention for approval. If 50% disapprove of the selection, she is allowed to come back a second time with another selection.

If 50% disapprove of that selection, she can come back a third time with a final selection. If 50% disapprove of that, the floor is opened up for nominations.

Early chatter within the movement is folks want to see former gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelley put into that role as a way to galvanize and motivate the base, although Rep. Matt Maddock (R-Milford), husband of Meshawn Maddock, is a possibility. A critical mass of the state House candidates supported by Maddock didn’t win their primaries.

It should be clear to Maddock himself at this point that he will not be the House Republican leader next term. Being the Lieutenant Governor nominee, would allow him to gracefully exit a House Republican caucus that expelled him earlier this year.

What either would do to influence swing voters in Southeast Michigan or raise money are not immediate areas of concern.

Dixon spent a significant amount of time Wednesday speaking with her team on the Lieutenant Governor pick, but no decision has been made. By the Michigan Republican Party rules, she must file her decision by Aug. 19.

Having a potentially hostile convention may change the calculus for Dixon. Just as Wes Nakagiri was pushed forward by the grassroots as an alternative to Brian Calley in 2014 and Bill Cooper was pushed by some convention delegates in 2010, a hypothetical Kelley candidacy could make things challenging for Dixon.

According to reports from the ground:

In Kent County, Chair Rob VerHeulen lost the ability to chair the convention to Tim Walenga, an unsuccessful 2020 county commission candidate. Former U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos left before a “multitude of grassroots patriots” were chosen to fill the delegate and alternate positions at the state convention, according to a social media post on former National Committeeman Dave Agema’s page.

Over in Ottawa County, Dixon, a Trump-endorsed candidate, received a warm applause from convention attendees. But after she left Kelley watched as several like-minded “America First” candidates were elected to the state convention.

In Genesee County, Chair Matt Smith suggested potential delegate candidates fill out a questionnaire in which the first question was “I support President Trump’s Agenda, Policies and Republican Party Platform.” Several new faces helped elect new delegates to the convention.

In Livingston County, Chair Meghan Reckling asked someone else to chair the convention due to a personal issue that required her to leave the meeting early. The “American First” movement elected a large number of delegates there.

In Oakland County, Meshawn Maddock held a “mock convention” Monday to train new delegates. She reported that three-quarters of the crowd raised their hands as being first-time delegates. When it came to the real convention, the America First candidates were by-and-large victorious.

In Dickinson County, Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Waucedah Twp.) and Rep. Beau LaFave (R-Iron Mountain) were asked by convention chair Angela Hall if they would be supporting DePerno for Attorney General at convention.

“Absolutely not,” LaFave said he told her. “Both Kristina Karamo and Matt DePerno, in every poll ever seen, lose epically to the worst Secretary of State and worst Attorney General Michigan has had in living memories. These two can’t win and I don’t want four more years of those two Democrats screwing up their jobs.

“She did not seem happy with that response,” LaFave deadpanned.