When former President Donald Trump’s campaign published a list of 51 Michigan state lawmakers who endorsed his candidacy last month, one name was surprising.

Listed eighth among the 12 state senators touted as endorsing Trump: Ed McBroom.

Three years ago, McBroom led an investigation into the many claims of voter fraud and electoral theft promoted by Trump and his allies. His final report amounted to a total evisceration of the stolen election myth they promoted — and still do to this day.

In an interview, McBroom said that voting for Trump in Michigan’s GOP primary last month “wasn’t a hard decision” and that although he considered the possibility of other candidates, they “had zero chance” and “they weren’t going anywhere — and a couple of them I didn’t like.”

Furthermore, McBroom, who said he didn’t have any discussions with the Trump campaign ahead of his endorsement, tried to explain why he and other Republicans who were critical in one way or another of Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election are now firmly back on board with his candidacy.  

“Nothing brings people together like winning,” McBroom said, adding: “And we want to win. And we’re supporting our ticket.”

McBroom, whose state Senate district spans much of the Upper Peninsula, is hardly alone in that line of thinking. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C.; and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp are among a group of Republicans who spoke out against Trump either for his effort to overturn the election or for his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol — and drew Trump’s sustained ire — who are now supporting his White House run.

A number of former Trump administration officials and Cabinet heads, including most recently former Vice President Mike Pence, have declined to endorse him.

McBroom said comparing Trump’s record with President Joe Biden’s shows that only one of them “clearly aligns” with McBroom’s priorities on the economy and foreign policy and with regard to the general stability of the U.S.

“It didn’t mean I didn’t wait to see whether there were other candidates out there first — I did,” he said. “But there aren’t.”

However, McBroom isn’t distancing himself from the findings of his report, which followed an eight-month investigation. The report debunked allegations of malfeasance and affirmed Biden’s more-than-150,000-vote victory in the state, concluding there was no basis or evidence to support repeated claims that the election results failed to reflect the will of the voters. The result in Michigan had, at the time, already been affirmed in court rulings and reviews conducted by the secretary of state.

“As is often the case, the truth is not as attractive or as immediately desirable as the lies and the lies contain elements of truth,” McBroom said in a statement at the time, adding that many of the claims of fraud or theft were the result of “a misunderstanding or an outright deception.”

The report had McBroom facing a firestorm, with blowback from constituents and even Trump himself. McBroom said that while “a very significant number of people” remain convinced Trump was cheated in 2020, that energy has waned. 

“As I and others have been able to explain to people what we found and what we didn’t find, and as those who continue to hold out the promise that they have the proof have actually failed to deliver on that, I think the fervor over that situation has diminished,” he said. “And I also think that a lot of folks who might not ever be convinced look at it and say, ‘Well, the best move at this point is to simply win this November and to stop trying to live in the past.’”

Trump’s criticism following McBroom’s report was stinging; he suggested McBroom sought to “hide the truth” about the Michigan results, deriding him as a Republican in Name Only and questioning whether McBroom was “really a Democrat who could not otherwise get elected in Northern Michigan.”

But McBroom said he “never took it personally.”

“The same day I got criticism from [Trump], I got praise from President [Barack] Obama. My response to everyone who asked about it was neither of them read the report,” McBroom said of the response to his findings, which also offered support for Republican-backed changes to voting laws in the state. (McBroom said certain changes to state voting administration ahead of the 2020 election contributed to the distrust in the results.)

“I would have loved to have had that moment to sit down [with Trump] and actually chat it out, discuss what I found,” McBroom continued. “But I never had that opportunity.”

Asked about McBroom’s endorsement, as well as support from recent GOP critics, Karoline Leavitt, a Trump campaign spokesperson, said in an email that those officials are a part of a growing coalition forming to topple Biden.

“Americans from all backgrounds, including Republicans, independents and disillusioned Democrats, are coalescing around President Trump and joining the greatest political movement in history so we can end Joe Biden’s chaos and make America strong, safe, and successful again,” she said. 

Meanwhile, the state Democratic Party said McBroom’s endorsement provided further evidence of Trump’s total takeover of the Michigan GOP.

“Senator Ed McBroom should be ashamed of himself,” party Chair Lavora Barnes said in a statement. “Of all people, he knows just how dangerous Trump is and the threat he poses to our democracy here in Michigan. This is just another example of the fact that at its core, the Michigan GOP has fully embraced Trump and his MAGA extremism.”

As for his message to voters in his home state this fall about the legitimacy of elections there, McBroom said that despite changes he feels have made the vote “less secure,” there “are still significant safeguards and processes in place that if somebody does something bad it will immediately just show.”

“But most of all, here in Michigan, the election is so localized with your local people,” he added. “That and it’s so bipartisan. You’ve got clerks of all walks of life on both sides of the aisle. You’ve got the polling place workers and everything. It’s our friends and neighbors. And to believe that one of them is trying to steal the election would be awful. But more than that, to believe they’re part of a huge conspiracy, one way or the other, is impossible.”

Unlike in 2020, when Biden led Trump in nearly every poll of Michigan, Trump has run ahead of Biden this time around in most recent surveys of the state, including one by Quinnipiac University this month. To an extent, that has surprised McBroom, who experienced the GOP wipeout in his state during the most recent midterm elections and hasn’t sensed that the suburban counties that were at the heart of Trump’s defeat — as his report detailed — have suddenly changed course. 

But, McBroom said, the early survey results could be showing that Trump is stronger in Michigan’s cities than he was in 2016 or 2020. And he continues to enjoy robust strength in the state’s rural communities, McBroom said.

“So it’s possible that he can still assemble a winning coalition, something that a year ago I doubted very much but am now beginning to be convinced is possible after all,” he said.

Approaching four years since the 2020 vote, Trump hasn’t retreated from his view that the election was stolen. On the trail and on his Truth Social platform, Trump still regularly promotes the false notion that he was robbed. McBroom would like to see him move on.

“I don’t think that it’s a great message. I don’t think it helps advance what are his real strong points,” McBroom said, citing his economic agenda and promotion of “peace through strength,” among other things. “I don’t think he needs to continue to beat that drum.”

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