Chaos erupted across the Michigan gubernatorial elections on Monday evening as the state's Bureau of Elections put forth the recommendation of throwing out the top two Republican candidates, which included former Detroit Police Chief James Craig, from taking part in the election to try and take the seat from Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
The bureau claimed that neither businessman Perry Johnson nor Craig officially submitted enough valid petition signatures and that the multiple thousands of signatures they and many others put in were just invalid. As an African American who stood in support of Second Amendment rights while carrying out his crime-fighting police duties in Detroit, Craig is the most well-known candidate for the GOP. Johnson, however, is currently the most well-funded candidate. If the ruling from the board does in fact stick, well over half of the current candidates attempting to run for governor would be entirely invalidated and forced to drop out, read a report from the Detroit News.
"(T)he Bureau did not fully process the challenge because the number of signatures removed from the total after the review of fraudulent-petition circulators were such that Mr. Craig was already far below the minimum threshold for ballot access," claimed the bureau when speaking about the signatures from Craig.
State elections report: James Craig and Perry Johnson filed too few signatures for ballot https://t.co/9t5uBaJ2Gz
— Detroit Free Press (@freep) May 24, 2022
Three other GOP candidates financial adviser Michael Markey, Michigan State Police Capt. Michael Brown, and entrepreneur Donna Brandenburg, were also on the chopping block for outright disqualification.
The bureau also stated that the circulators of the petition "submitted fraudulent petition sheets consisting entirely of invalid signatures," and claimed that a number as high as 68,000 signatures seemed to be invalid.
Craig, aged 65, has been marked as the frontrunner for the GOP that will end up taking on Whitmer out in November.
"I’m a fighter, always been a fighter," stated Craig to Fox 2 in the wake of the report coming to light. "Michigan wants something different. I know, everyone else knows, I was the GOP candidate that would have upset the incumbent," claimed Craig to Fox 2 after the bureau made their report public.
Johnson, aged 74, runs a well-known quality control auditing company.
John Yob, one of the consultants for Johnson, stated to The Detroit News that the bureau did not have the power to just void every single signature obtained by the alleged forgers by themselves.
"We strongly believe they are refusing to count thousands of signatures from legitimate voters who signed the petitions and look forward to winning this fight before the board, and if necessary, in the courts," stated Yob.
The Board of State Canvassers, on which currently sits an even 2-2 split of Democrats and Republicans, is prepared to consider the recent findings this Thursday. It would take a 75% vote from the board to ignore the bureau's recommendation and keep the candidates on the ballot, stated a release from the Michigan Secretary of State’s office.