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Two of Michigan’s most prominent Republican gubernatorial candidates are ineligible after failing to submit enough valid signatures to appear on the ballot.
The Republicans appear to have lost two of their strongest contenders for the governorship of Michigan. Detroit Police Department Chief James Craig and businessman Perry Johnson — two of the most prominent Republicans running against Governor Gretchen Whitmer — failed to produce the valid signatures needed to appear on the ballot.
Gubernatorial candidates must submit 15,000 valid signatures to appear on the state ballot. According to the office, the affected candidates fell victim to a series of petitioners who only obtained invalid or otherwise unusable signatures, putting them well below the mark.
“Michigan’s petition process is fatally flawed because it easily allows criminals to victimize candidates for public office and their thousands of supporters who legitimately sign petitions,” Johnson said of the situation in a campaign statement Monday. . “We need to bring quality to the petition process by allowing campaigns a mechanism to compare signatures collected by circulators with signatures on the roster of qualified voters to ensure their legitimacy.”
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“Criminals can commit fraud for money or by deliberately infiltrating a victimized campaign with illegitimate signatures in a Machiavellian attempt by the opposing party to have them removed from the ballot later,” Johnson continued. “Unfortunately, signatures provided to campaigns can currently only be verified after they have been submitted to the Secretary of State. This needs to change, immediately.”
A spokesperson for Craig told Fox News Digital that he “continues to fight this and will take it to court.”
The Elections Office announced the election complications on Monday after reviewing documents submitted by candidates.
The office said it tracked the invalid signatures of about 36 petitioners who submitted stacks of petitions with nothing but invalid or otherwise unusable signatures.
A total of five state gubernatorial candidates lacked enough valid signatures: Craig, Johnson, Michael Markey, State Police Captain Michael Brown and businesswoman Donna Brandenburg, according to the office.
Fox News has reached out to Craig, Brown and Brandenburg for comment.
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The stunning upheaval threatens to completely derail Republican efforts in Michigan.
The Board of State Solicitors will consider the findings of the Office of Elections on Thursday to determine how to proceed.