Craig Files as Write-In for Michigan GOP Governor Primary | New Policies
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig filed a written candidacy for Michigan governor on Tuesday weeks after he was voted out of the Aug. 2 Republican primary ballot.
Craig was among five Republican candidates deemed ineligible after the state election office determined they failed to collect the necessary number of valid signatures. The elections office discovered last month that candidates had submitted fake signatures collected by paid petition distributors.
Craig and his campaign also filed a lawsuit Monday in Kent County Circuit Court against a company hired to collect signatures. The lawsuit, which alleges fraud and breach of contract, names In Field Strategies Inc. and about 20 hired circulators who “signed affidavits falsely swearing that they had obtained genuine signatures from among the thousands of voters who support Chief James Craig, the main Republican governor. candidate.”
The Associated Press left a voicemail and email late Tuesday afternoon seeking comment from In Field Strategies.
The elections office found that Craig had submitted 10,192 valid signatures – well below the 15,000 needed. He discarded 11,113 signatures, including 9,879 that were allegedly fraudulently collected by 18 paid circulators. The agency found evidence of consistent handwriting in all signatures on individual petition sheets and “roundtables,” where circulators would take turns signing a line on each sheet in an effort to vary the handwriting and to make the signatures appear as authentic.
Craig, along with wealthy business consultant Perry Johnson, had been considered GOP favorites for governor.
Johnson turned in 13,800 valid signatures, according to election office staff. The office threw away 9,393, including 6,983 it said were fraudulent and were gathered by many of the same people who collected the signatures Craig submitted.
A vote by the Board of State Solicitors then prevented Craig, Johnson and three other candidates from voting.
A judge also refused to put Craig on the ballot, while Johnson failed in a federal lawsuit seeking to put his name on the ballot.
Five candidates remain in the Republican primary: Tudor Dixon, Kevin Rinke, Ryan Kelley, Garrett Soldano and Ralph Rebandt. The winner will face Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer in November.
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