On Friday, the Michigan Supreme Court rejected a request by three Republican candidates to return to the primary elections in August after state election officials discovered that their campaign had submitted a forged signature. ..
Candidates (James Craig, Perry Johnson, Michael J. Marquee Jr.) are required to qualify for ballot after thousands of signatures on the nomination petition have been found to be fraudulent. Did not meet the total number of. There is no evidence that the candidate knew about widespread cheating.
“There is nothing here that deserves our further time and attention,” Democratic Judge Bridget Mary McCormack ordered: Johnson’s challenge..
With this decision, Republicans will significantly undermine the Governor’s Primary in major battlefield states and strengthen the hands of Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer seeking reelection.
Michigan is seen by Republicans aspiring to invade the state as a top goal for 2022, with President Biden winning more than 150,000 votes in 2020. Whitmer was the target of a Republican base in the early stages of a coronavirus pandemic.
Former Detroit Police Department chief Craig was considered an early and most promising candidate for the nomination.He grew up Over $ 2 Million Last YearHe chased Whitmer in funding, but outperformed his Republican rivals.
Currently, it’s unclear if Craig and his Republican responders probably have a way forward through a writing campaign, or if they’re forced to abandon their bids. Some Republican candidates have characterized their disqualification as being politically promoted in the same way they fight it in court. In all, five Republican governor candidates have been declared ineligible for forged petition signatures.
Craig and Johnson, as well as Michigan Republican representatives, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Marquee’s lawyer, Garrett Koger, emailed the court’s decision on Friday night, but didn’t say what the next steps in the campaign would be.
“We respect the court’s decision and understand that it was on the verge of extreme time, but we are disappointed that we did not take up Mr. Marquee’s proceedings and decide on the case. “Mr. Koger said. “It is our position that Michigan voters should have had a strong candidate field in August of this year, rather than being narrowed down by unchecked bureaucracy.”
The ruling was issued when the state faced a Friday deadline to complete the primary ballot on August 2. State election officials said it was essential for computer programming and absentee ballot preparation.
In a review of the nomination petition last week, the Michigan Contestation Bureau made sharp criticisms of the methods used in the candidate’s campaign to collect signatures and the agents working for the candidate.
“The Bureau is unaware of another election cycle in which many of these circulators have submitted a large number of fraudulent petitions consisting of invalid signatures,” the Bureau said. He also revealed that there was no evidence that the candidate had any knowledge of fraud.
Election officials said they had identified 36 people who filed fraudulent petitions consisting of completely invalid signatures. On May 23, I learned that 19 candidates did not meet the signature requirements to get on the ballot. Three Republicans and one Democrat are seeking seats, and ten independent candidates are seeking judicial positions.
More than half of the 21,305 signatures submitted by Mr. Craig’s campaign were rejected, leaving 10,192 valid signatures, the agency said in a report, saying little effort was made to change the handwriting.
“In some cases, instead of trying various signatures, the circulator intentionally scribbled them unreadable,” the agency said of Mr. Craig’s petition. “In another example, they circulated the petition among them, each filling in a row.”
The Election Bureau rejected 9,393 of the 23,193 signatures submitted by Mr Johnson’s campaign, leaving 13,800 valid signatures. According to the agency, some of the fraudulent signatures represented voters who died or moved out of state.
Two Democrats upheld disqualification, two Republicans opposed it, got stuck in line with party policy, and the May 26 campaign committee upheld the Bureau’s decision to exclude candidates. did. Candidates must get a majority of votes from the four members of the board to be recognized as a ballot spot.
Michigan Election Director, Jonathan Braiter, Told the solicitation committee During the meeting, the fraud was so blatant that the petition was referred to the state attorney general for a criminal investigation.
“It’s a terrible thing for our state and an attack on our electoral system,” Braiter said.