GOP replaces canvasser who certified Biden's win in Michigan

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks at a COVID-19 news conference Jan. 13, 2021.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks at a COVID-19 news conference Jan. 13, 2021. (WDIV)

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appointed a new Republican to Michigan's election board Tuesday, replacing one who was not re-nominated by the GOP after he voted to certify Joe Biden's victory over President Donald Trump.

Tony Daunt, executive director of the Michigan Freedom Fund, will succeed Aaron Van Langevelde, whose term expires Jan. 31. Under law, the Democratic governor had to choose one of three people nominated by the state Republican Party.

In November, Van Langevelde angered GOP activists when he joined two Democrats on the Board of State Canvassers to confirm Biden's convincing 154,000-vote win despite pressure to delay from party chairman Laura Cox and other Trump allies. The other Republican canvasser, Norm Shinkle, abstained.

Daunt will serve a four-year term. After the board certified the results, Daunt applauded the move, saying the vote should have been 4-0. The Freedom Fund is affiliated with the DeVos family, which funds conservative and GOP causes.

“The Board of State Canvassers requires leaders willing to follow the rule of law and to provide honest leadership, and I am honored to be entrusted with this position,” Daunt said.

In a lengthy statement, Van Langevelde said it was no surprise he was not re-nominated. Some political leaders — “blinded by power and partisanship” — tried to get the board to withhold certification based on unproven allegations of fraud, he said, even though it had no legal authority to do so. Not confirming the results would have led to a “constitutional chaos,” he said

“My conscience is clear, and I am confident that my decision is on the right side of the law and history,” said Van Langevelde, an attorney who works as a policy adviser in the state House.

A spokesman for the state GOP said Van Langevelde did not reach out to the party about serving another term.

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