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"Defund Bergman" group asks campaign donors to rebuke MI Rep. for Jan. 6 vote

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Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

An activist group in Northern Michigan is asking past donors to Republican Congressmen Jack Bergman’s campaign to cut off the money.

Bergman was one of more than 100 Republican representatives who voted against certifying the 2020 election results in two states despite no evidence of widespread fraud. The vote was on January 6, the same day a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol.

In the wake of all of that, the “Defund Bergman” group started a month ago. Volunteer Owen Goslin says Bergman’s actions “smeared’ local elections officials who did their jobs right. He hopes Bergman donors will hold him accountable.

“When they donated to Jack Bergman before the election they didn’t know that he was going to vote the way he did to decertify election results. Now they know,” says Goslin.

According to The New York Times, Bergman was one of 139 representatives and eight senators who voted against certifying the election results of Arizona, Pennsylvania, or both.  

Bergman also made statements in the weeks after the 2020 election alleging “irregularities” in Michigan’s election results. He also signed a legal brief supporting a federal lawsuit in Texas aiming to challenge the results in Michigan and three other states.  

Goslin says “Defund Bergman” is not a partisan effort. He says it’s about pushing back against false conspiracy theories about election fraud.

“When we have our meetings, we don't talk about what party we are or what candidates we're backing. It’s really about that root issue of the principle of, you know, respecting our [county] clerks and the people who have made our democracy work to this point,” says Goslin.

Bergman told Interlochen Public Radio he didn’t want to overturn the election results, but he did want a federal commission to audit them. Bergman’s office did not respond to an interview request.

Goslin says the group plans to write letters and make phone calls to both corporate Bergman campaign donors, and local individual donors. He says volunteers will reach out to Bergman donors in their own hometowns, hoping neighborly relationships will change some hearts and minds. He says he’s heard from local Republican voters near his town of Cheboygan who were repulsed by what they saw on January 6.

Defund Bergman hopes to convince past Bergman donors to support other candidates who don’t spread baseless fears about election fraud. Goslin says there’s a core group of 40-50 people who’ve been heavily involved in organizing the effort, while about 1,500 people have expressed interest in the group through email and social media.  

Bergman represents Michigan’s 1st District, which constitutes all of the Upper Peninsula and a portion of the northern Lower Peninsula – a vast geographic area that’s mostly rural and dotted with towns and small cities.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said Tuesday that Michigan had completed a comprehensive election audit and found no evidence of widespread voter fraud. 

Tyler Scott is the weekend afternoon host at Michigan Radio, though you can often hear him filling in at other times during the week. Tyler started in radio at age 18, as a board operator at WMLM 1520AM in Alma, Michigan, where he later became host of The Morning Show.
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