Melissa Carone is said to be a star witness for Rudolph W. Giuliani on his election denial tour, but she may be better known as a caricature on “Saturday Night Live” — a mercurial purveyor of wild conspiracy theories about fraud and miscounted ballots that Mr. Giuliani was silent in the middle of her testimony.
Her next step was to run for the Michigan legislature, joining a host of election deniers across the country who have sought public office since former President Donald J. Trump lost the 2020 presidential election to Joseph R. Biden Jr.
But her plans were cut short on Tuesday, when the Michigan Department of State Ms. Carone, 35, a former election contractor, disqualified as a Republican primary nominee for a state Senate seat outside of Detroit.
The agency said that Mrs. Carone, along with 10 other legislative candidates, had made false statements about an affidavit candidates were required to submit to the election administrators. On one of the forms signed by Ms. Carone, she stated that she had no unpaid fines for electoral violations and that all of her public campaign files were up to date. The district secretary where Ms. Carone was a candidate, said Wednesday that was not the case.
It was the second time in recent months that Mrs. Carone was disqualified as a candidate: the Macomb County Clerk & Register of Deeds banned her from running for state representative in March of the August 2 primaries.
When she signed the affidavit, Ms. Carone owes at least $125 in late fees for missing the 2021 quarterly campaign filing deadline twice, according to a letter from the clerk obtained by DailyExpertNews. She also had not submitted a 2022 annual statement for her campaign and an amendment to a quarterly report from last October, the letter said.
Ms. Carone, who was played in December 2020 by “Saturday Night Live” cast member Cecily Strong, blamed the situation on a former campaign manager who she said failed to file the paperwork in an interview on Wednesday.
She accused Republican election officials and party leaders of conspiring to keep her from voting.
“This is how our elected officials prevent good candidates from being elected,” said Ms. Carone. “I’m going to fight it. Even if I don’t get on the ballot, my voice will be heard. I’m not going anywhere. I’m still going to expose these sold-out RINOs in the Michigan GOP”
Anthony G. Forlini, a Republican who is the Macomb County clerk, said Wednesday that his office had complied with the law and that Ms. Carone’s disqualification was not politically motivated.
“From our point of view, she was kicked off the ballot for, in effect, perjury,” said Mr Forlini.
Mr. Forlini said it is a crime in Michigan to make a false statement on affidavits such as those signed by candidates.
“We’re just abiding by the letter of the law,” he said. “She loves the drama and she feeds on it.”
Mr. Forlini said he was unable to discuss details of Ms. Carone’s recent disqualification by the Michigan Department of State, a separate agency headed by Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat who is Secretary of State.
A spokeswoman for that agency said on Wednesday she could not elaborate further on the nature of the false statements that led to Ms. Carone, who was announced in conjunction with the other candidates who were excluded on Tuesday.
A receipt filed with the State Department shows that Ms. Carone paid $125 in late fees by check on March 24, three days after she signed the affidavit that she owed nothing.
Gustavo Portela, a spokesman for the Michigan Republican Party, rejected Ms. Carone that a concerted effort had been made to keep her from the primaries.
“Terrible candidates seem to find it difficult to take responsibility for themselves so that they shift the blame onto others,” he said in an email on Wednesday.
Ms. Carone claimed she was contracted by Dominion Voting Systems, an election technology company that has been the target of a baseless pro-Trump conspiracy theory about counterfeit voting machines. The company called her claims defamatory and sent her a letter of suspension.
During an election surveillance hearing held by Michigan lawmakers in December 2020, she testified that she had observed more than 20 cases of fraud — not counting ballots found in rivers and under a rock — and that at least 30,000 ballots had been counted multiple times. A judge in the Wayne County Circuit Court had already determined that Ms. Carone – made in an affidavit seeking to stop the certification of votes – were “not credible”.
At times belligerent and smooth, Ms. Carone’s performance was widely mocked, including by ‘Saturday Night Live’.
“To be honest, I haven’t looked at it in a very long time,” she said on Wednesday. “I think it’s funny. I don’t get angry about things like that. I do not care.”