GOP gubernatorial candidates who have had their court challenges denied (L-R): James Craig, Perry Johnson and Michael Markey | Photos by Allison R. Donahue and Andrew Roth
The Michigan Court of Claims has denied an appeal from former Detroit Police Chief James Craig, one of five GOP gubernatorial candidates disqualified from the August primary ballot after thousands of signatures on their nominating petitions were deemed invalid.
That now brings the number to three of Republican candidates seeking an appeal who have been turned down by the courts. Businessman Perry Johnson was unanimously rejected on Wednesday by the Michigan Court of Appeals, which later that night also denied a motion from businessman Michael Markey to intervene.
Johnson has since filed an appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court, while Craig, Markey and businesswoman Donna Brandenberg intend to do the same. Friday is the deadline set by the Michigan Secretary of State’s office as to whose names will appear on the ballot.
Also disqualified was Michigan State Police Capt. Michael Brown, who has since dropped out of the race.
State elections officials recommended the five candidates be dropped from the ballot after the Bureau of Elections (BOE) released a report last week detailing an “unprecedented” number of fraudulent signatures. That recommendation was then upheld when the Board of State Canvassers (BSC) deadlocked along party lines.
The decisions have upended the Republican field to challenge Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in November, cutting it in half from 10 down to five: businessman Kevin Rinke, right-wing media personality Tudor Dixon, chiropractor Garrett Soldano, far-right activist Ryan Kelley and the Rev. Ralph Rebandt.
The petition fraud scandal comes as many Republicans, including several of the GOP gubernatorial candidates, have publicly questioned whether former President Donald Trump lost the 2020 election and spread conspiracy theories about unproven election fraud.
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