As Soldano backs out, Rebandt picks up LG fight and Trump endorses Hernandez

By: - August 22, 2022 6:53 pm

The Rev. Ralph Rebandt participates in a GOP gubernatorial debate as part of the Mackinac Island Policy Conference, June 2, 2022 | Laina G. Stebbins

Just hours after Kalamazoo chiropractor Garrett Soldano announced that he will no longer be seeking the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor, another of the failed GOP gubernatorial candidates said he will seek the position instead.

“After thoughtful consideration and prayer I accept the request and support from delegates, county chairs, and citizens to run for the nomination of Lieutenant Governor of Michigan at the August 27th Republican Convention,” said the Rev. Ralph Rebandt in a press release Monday evening. 

Rebandt, who was among those to call into question the validity of the election results, said his decision should not be viewed as divisive.

Soldano backpedals, nixes LG bid to spend time with his family

“In my thirty-five years of parliamentary experience, I have learned that when everyone has a voice in the process, there is greater unity and acceptance in the outcome,” Rebandt said. “It is the will of many of the citizens of Michigan to offer their legitimate voice and by procedure, elect a Lieutenant Governor who will work with Tudor Dixon to protect the rights and interests of all the citizens of Michigan by exemplifying truth, respect, dignity, and love.”

Dixon’s announcement Friday that she had selected former state Rep. Shane Hernandez (R-Port Huron) to be her running mate was not universally welcomed within the party, with Soldano teasing a possible run for the No. 2 position just hours later.

Soldano then ratcheted up the speculation of a convention floor fight when he posted a photo on Sunday of he and presumptive Republican attorney general nominee Matt DePerno having lunch, saying they discussed the importance of building a “stronger ticket” with “grassroots enthusiasm.”

However, with Soldano’s announcement that he was out of the running to focus on his family, the GOP ticket was only able to enjoy a couple of hours of unity before Rebandt’s press release, although he indicated the fight would not continue past Saturday’s Republican nominating convention in Lansing.

“Regardless of the outcome of the Republican Convention on August 27th, I will wholly and completely support the Tudor Dixon ticket on the November ballot, and will work to secure a Republican victory,” he said. “We must all unite to remove Gretchen Whitmer from office and to restore our constitutional liberties.”

That same sentiment was pushed forward by former President Donald Trump, although not in favor of Rebandt.

Former Rep. Shane Hernandez | Dixon campaign video screenshot

In a release Monday evening, Trump said he was backing Hernandez — a statement some Republicans were looking for immediately after Dixon’s announcement last week.

“Tudor Dixon MUST defeat Gretchen Whitmer in November!” said Trump. “I have talked to Tudor about the race and her choice of a running mate, Shane Hernandez. Since then, I have checked and found him to be an outstanding person. In fact, he was named Michigan’s most Conservative legislator, and is strongly committed to Election Integrity. The MAGA movement should support the ticket! This is who Tudor wants and therefore, Shane is who I want as your next Lieutenant Governor.”

Meanwhile, former Detroit Police Chief James Craig, who had sought the GOP nomination for governor before being tossed off the ballot due to invalid petition signatures, told the Detroit News on Monday that he would support U.S. Taxpayers Party nominee Donna Brandenburg for governor before Dixon.

Brandenburg was also removed from the GOP primary ballot for invalid petition signatures.


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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.