Republican James Craig says he was ‘robbed,’ will mount write-in campaign for governor

By: - June 10, 2022 6:13 am

Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig speaks to reporters at the Michigan Economic Developers Association’s (MEDA) annual “Capitol Day” at the Lansing Center, March 3, 2022 | Laina G. Stebbins

After failing to get the courts to reverse a decision that kept him off the August primary ballot, former Detroit Police Chief James Craig said he will run for the GOP gubernatorial nomination as a write-in candidate.

Craig made the announcement Thursday night on “Let It Rip” on WJBK-TV.

Speaking with host Roop Raj, Craig said he was not giving up, despite the Michigan Supreme Court deciding in favor of a state Bureau of Elections (BOE) ruling that he and several GOP candidates, including businessman Perry Johnson, should be denied a spot because they submitted thousands of fraudulent petition signatures.

“They have robbed me, and robbed Perry and guess what — write-in,” he told Raj. “There are so many people that have reached out through my campaign who have said, ‘Chief, you are a fighter; don’t give up; continue to fight.’ Guess what? I’m going to.”

Craig also said he “absolutely” had the name recognition to mount a successful write-in campaign.

GOP gubernatorial candidates the Bureau of Elections recommended to remove from the ballot (clockwise): James Craig, Michael Brown, Donna Brandenburg, Perry Johnson and Michael Markey

Countering that opinion was Johnson, who also appeared on the program, and said it would be very difficult to win a write-in campaign.

“I think you have to get on the ballot,” said Johnson. “That’s why I filed in the court.”

Johnson, a self-described “quality guru,” on Monday filed suit in the U.S. District Court for Michigan’s Eastern District, seeking an injunction to halt the printing of ballots and an order overturning the decision to keep his name from appearing on them.

Craig, Johnson, financial adviser Michael Markey and businesswoman Donna Brandenburg had all appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court to overturn lower court rulings that also favored the BOE ruling and place them on the August primary ballot. 

But in a 6-1 majority opinion, the justices said claims from Johnson, Craig and Markey lacked merit because they did not demonstrate that the Board of State Canvassers had a “clear legal duty” to certify their names to the ballot when they lacked the required number of valid petition signatures. 

The court later also ruled against Brandenburg.

State elections officials recommended five candidates be dropped from the ballot after the Bureau of Elections (BOE) released a report detailing an “unprecedented” number of fraudulent signatures. That recommendation was then upheld when the Board of State Canvassers (BSC) deadlocked along party lines.

GOP gubernatorial candidates the Bureau of Elections said had enough signatures (clockwise): Garrett Soldano, Kevin Rinke, Ryan Kelley, Tudor Dixon and Ralph Rebandt,

One of the candidates, Michigan State Police Capt. Michael Brown, had already dropped out of the race.

Craig’s decision came on the same day fellow GOP gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelley was arraigned on federal charges related to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol following a raid by the FBI Thursday morning at his home in Allendale Township in West Michigan.

Currently there are five GOP hopefuls on the Aug. 2 ballot: Kelley, businessman Kevin Rinke, right-wing media personality Tudor Dixon, chiropractor Garrett Soldano and the Rev. Ralph Rebandt. 

The winner of the GOP primary will face Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Nov. 8.

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Jon King
Jon King

Jon King has been a journalist for more than 35 years. He is the Past President of the Michigan Associated Press Media Editors Association and has been recognized for excellence numerous times, most recently in 2021 with the Best Investigative Story by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Cleary University. Jon and his family live in Howell, where he also serves on the Board of Directors for the Livingston Diversity Council.