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
Three Republican gubernatorial candidates have lost their bid to appear on the August primary ballot, after the Michigan Supreme Court ruled Friday in favor of a state Bureau of Elections (BOE) ruling that they should be denied a spot because of thousands of fraudulent petition signatures.
The 6-1 ruling effectively ends the candidacies of businessman Perry Johnson, financial adviser Michael Markey and former Detroit Police Chief James Craig.
In the majority ruling, which also applies to Markey and Craig, Chief Justice Bridget McCormack, who was nominated by Democrats, said Johnson’s complaint “lacks merit because he cannot show that the Board of State Canvassers had a clear legal duty to certify his name to the ballot.”
The lone dissenting vote came from Democratic-nominated Justice Richard Bernstein, who argued in favor of oral arguments as the case “presents significant legal issues worth further consideration.”
The decision came just an hour before the state Bureau of Elections was set to send a list of certified candidates to county clerks at 5 p.m. Friday.
Johnson, Craig, 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. The court has not ruled on Brandenburg’s appeal.
Michigan State Police Capt. Michael Brown dropped out of the race rather than appeal.
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.
There are five GOP hopefuls on the Aug. 2 ballot: Far-right activist Ryan 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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