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‘Election interference’ claims muddy battleground state politics amid competitive races

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FIRST ON FOX: Michigan Republican Senate candidate Mike Rogers is firing back at Democrats after they accused him and other Republicans of committing fraud to obtain ballot access. 

In a letter to the Michigan Board of State Canvassers, a lawyer for Rogers slammed the state Democratic Party and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) over what he said were “reckless and unsubstantiated claims.”

Earlier this month, the Democratic Party entities urged the board to investigate potential fraud in the nominating petitions of several Republican Senate primary candidates, including Rogers, who once represented Michigan in the U.S. House. The groups called for “an immediate investigation of the petition sheets submitted by candidates Rogers, [Justin] Amash, [Sandy] Pensler, and [Peter] Meijer, and to invalidate all petition signatures appearing on petition sheets signed by circulators who are found to have engaged in fraud.”

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Mike Rogers

Republican Senate primary candidate Mike Rogers is accusing Democrats of “election interference.” (Getty Images)

In calling for the investigations, Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes said in a statement at the time, “The new indications of apparent fraud are deeply concerning and demand immediate action.” 

“Given that Michigan voters have now submitted declarations stating they did not sign the petitions, the Bureau of Elections and Board of Canvassers must uphold their responsibility to protect the integrity of Michigan’s elections and conduct a full, thorough investigation. The Board of State Canvassers must conclusively determine that the Republican Senate candidates have each submitted 15,000 valid signatures before taking any vote to certify them to appear on the ballot,” she continued. 

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Democratic party donkey

Democratic groups requested investigations into the nominating petitions of Republican Senate candidates. (Leigh Vogel/WireImage)

A spokesperson for Rogers claimed in a statement to Fox News Digital that the party entities were engaging in “election interference.” 

Rogers’ lawyer, Eric E. Doster, urged the board not to accept the petition deniers’ invitation to “engage in voter disenfranchisement,” he wrote in the letter. 

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Former Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers

Rogers is considered the frontrunner in a crowded Michigan Republican Senate primary. (Sam Wolfe/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers did not provide comment to Fox News Digital in time for publication. 

“This blatant attempt at election interference is just the latest example of the disdain Democrats hold for Michigan voters and democracy at large,” said Rogers spokesperson Chris Gustafson. 

The Republican candidate has been endorsed by former President Trump in his primary race, and the campaign has come to his defense in public settings. 

According to a statement from Trump campaign Michigan spokesperson Victoria LaCivita, “Michigan Democrats have a long track record of election interference and creating systems open to fraud.”

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Trump and Mike Rogers

Mike Rogers was endorsed by former President Trump in his primary race. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

“This latest scheme is based on fear of losing to President Trump and his Michigan GOP ticket in November. Using radical liberal lawyer Marc Elias underscores the truth: this is just a sad PR stunt to distract Michigan voters from the real issues at stake this November. Michiganders care about being able to afford gas and groceries and feeling safe in their homes and will see through this smokescreen,” she added. 

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The legal ballot feud comes as Michigan is again poised to be a big battleground state in the upcoming November election. In an April Fox News poll, Trump was up by three points over President Biden in the state, or 49% to 46% among registered voters. 

Further, with the exit of top incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., the race for the next Michigan senator is considered competitive, rated as “Lean Democratic” by nonpartisan political handicapper the Cook Political Report. The Republican and Democratic Senate primaries will be held on Aug. 6. 


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