Attorney General Nessel to investigate 5 gubernatorial campaigns

Elections bureau found thousands of fake signatures on ballot petition
Published: May. 25, 2022 at 5:10 PM EDT|Updated: May. 27, 2022 at 9:49 AM EDT
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UPDATE: State Board of Canvassers disqualify 5 GOP candidates from ballot

LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - A report from the State Elections Bureau claims five Republican candidates turned in thousands of fake signatures to get on the ballot for Michigan’s gubernatorial race. Now, they may be all be disqualified from that race.

Five of the ten candidates could already be off the ballot by the end of the week; Donna Brandenburg, Michael Brown, James Craig, Perry Johnson and Michael Markey didn’t meet the 15,000 valid signature threshold to be on the ballot, according to the Bureau.

Now, it looks like Michigan’s Office of the Attorney General will be getting involved.

“Our department has received a referral for investigation from the Michigan Department of State,” a department representative told News 10.

Background: 5 GOP Michigan gubernatorial candidates may be off August primary ballot

Attorney General Dana Nessel said, “At the Bureau of Elections they’ve essentially said they’ve never seen fraud at this level before.”

Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig was one of the first candidates, along with Perry Johnson, to have the issue of legitimate signatures come up. On May 13, he said his campaign wasn’t worried about the company hired to collection signatures.

“The company we hired, I have every confidence they’re doing it right and the people who are investigating, I feel comfortable with them,” Craig said.

However, the Michigan Democratic Party challenged three GOP candidate’s petitions, alleging forgery, duplicates and other issues. GOP candidate Tudor Dixon had also challenged Craig’s signatures.

According to documentation from the Michigan Bureau of Elections, of Craig’s 21,305 signatures, only 10,192 were valid. Documents claim of Johnson’s 23,193 signatures, only 13,800 were valid. The documents said only 4,430 of Markey’s signatures were valid, Brown only had 7,091 valid signatures and Brandenburg only had 6,634 valid signatures.

Background: ‘Worst I’ve ever seen’ -- James Craig denies ballot signatures are fraudulent

Nessel said, “If you are running for a statewide office for something as important as the governor of the state of Michigan? You know, I do think it’s incumbent upon that candidate to make some level of inquiry as to whether or not the signatures that they’re submitting are fraudulent or not.”

The bipartisan Board of State Canvassers will meet Thursday to consider the elections bureau’s recommendations. If they board agrees with the findings, the 10 GOP candidates would be cut in half to five.


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