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Mike Brown says he’s ‘disgusted’ by ‘incompetence’ of Michigan signing scandal, quits race


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Michigan gubernatorial candidate Michael Brown announced the end of his campaign on Tuesday after thousands of petition signatures for himself and a slew of other candidates were deemed invalid.

Brown, the Republican and Michigan State police captain, was running in the Republican gubernatorial primary against other leading conservative candidates, including James Craig, Perry Johnson and Garrett Soldano. Gubernatorial candidates must submit 15,000 valid signatures to appear on the state ballot. According to the state’s Office of Elections, several candidates were hit by a series of petitioners who only obtained invalid or otherwise unusable signatures, putting them well below the qualifying bar.

“I’m stepping down from the governor’s race,” Brown told Fox News Digital. “I don’t dispute.”

“I was disgusted that my campaign had been compromised by the incompetence of others,” he added. “Eight months of hard work have been thrown out the window.”

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Brown, who was far behind the leading candidates with just 2% of the vote, blamed his opponents for the disastrous confusion. Brown says he submitted his petition materials on April 12, well before the deadline, and that independent contractors working for his campaign brought in other candidates who needed the same work.

“Broadcasters were identified from their campaigns who had previously filed valid petitions on my campaign,” he said. “So those signatures were found to be invalid on mine as well.”

Brown argues that the same contractors who produced valid signatures for his campaign continued to produce invalid signatures for other candidates.

The bureau’s report offered insight into some suspicious signatures on Brown’s petition, pointing out areas of doubt, including canceled voter registrations, spelling errors, unusual abbreviations and distinctive handwriting in recurring areas.

“A referral has been made to the Attorney General. Now that this is an ongoing criminal investigation, we have no further comment,” the Michigan State Department told Fox News Digital.

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“In total, the Bureau estimates that these circulators submitted at least 68,000 invalid signatures submitted across 10 rounds of nomination petitions,” the Michigan Elections Bureau said in its initial report. “In several cases, the number of invalid signatures submitted by these circulators was the reason why a candidate had an insufficient number of valid signatures. In other cases, while invalid signatures were identified in the candidate’s file, the number was insufficient to move the number of signatures below the qualifying threshold for the ballot.”

“Staff reviewed every petition sheet submitted by Mr. Brown. During the review, staff flagged every sheet signed by fraudulent petition distributors,” the office said of Brown specifically. According to the bureau’s assessment, 13,775 of Brown’s 20,900 signatures were inauthentic. Brown decided to quit in the early hours of Tuesday morning, calling it a “painful decision.”

“Their incompetence cost my campaign a spot on the ballot,” he told Fox News Digital.

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Brown isn’t the only candidate exasperated by the scandal.

“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.”

A source close to the Craig campaign told Fox News Digital that the candidate plans to challenge his withdrawal from the ballot in court.

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