This is the biggest example of Republican 2022 dirty tricks yet: tens of thousands of fraudulent signatures were "collected" by several GOP candidates running in the Michigan Republican primaries in August, so many fraudulent signatures that several candidates running for Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's job will no longer qualify to be on the August primary ballot.
A signature forgery scandal has turned the race for the GOP nomination to be Michigan’s next governor on its head: Two leading Republican candidates did not collect enough signatures to qualify for the primary ballot after invalid signatures were excluded, according to a report from the state’s Bureau of Elections.
The Bureau of Elections reports will now go to the Board of State Canvassers, which will vote Thursday on which candidates qualify to appear on the ballot for the state’s Aug. 2 primaries.
Thirty-six petition circulators — campaign workers hired to collect signatures — “submitted fraudulent petition sheets consisting entirely of invalid signatures,” according to the Bureau. In all, according to the Bureau’s report Monday, these circulators submitted at least 68,000 invalid signatures across nominating petitions for 10 candidates.
Both leading Republican candidates submitted well above the 15,000 signatures necessary, but were subsequently hit with complaints that that counts contained fraudulent signatures.
James Craig , the former Detroit police chief, submitted more than 11,100 invalid signatures and just under 10,200 valid ones, according to the Bureau’s report. Bureau staff noted “consistent handwriting for the entirety of a petition sheet, including signatures” and evidence of “round-tabling,” or the practice of passing a petition sheet around in a group to make entries appear more authentic.
Another candidate, Perry Johnson, submitted nearly 14,000 valid signatures — not enough to make the ballot — and over 9,000 invalid signatures. The same group of petition circulators who submitted thousands of invalid signature pages for Craig’s campaign did so for Johnson’s, the Bureau reported. A report noted incorrect addresses and misspelled names.
Three additional Republican gubernatorial candidates also fell far short of the valid signatures needed to qualify, the Bureau said: Michael Brown, Michael Markey and Donna Brandenburg. Each submitted well more than 15,000 signatures, but in all three cases, more than 10,000 were deemed invalid.
Candidates need 15,000 valid signatures to qualify for the gubernatorial primary ballot, and were allowed to submit up to 30,000 for review. Gubernatorial candidates also need at least 100 signatures from at least half of the state’s congressional districts. Prices for signature-gatherers spiked this cycle, increasing pressure on campaigns as they raced to meet the qualifying figure.
The ultimate decision on the candidates’ qualifications for office is up to the Michigan Board of State Canvassers, which is made up of two Democrats and two Republicans and is set to meet Thursday.
If the Board of State Canvassers heeds the Bureau of Elections’ report and disqualifies 5 out of 10 Republican gubernatorial contenders, that could open the door for Tudor Dixon — who’s denied that Joe Biden won Michigan in the 2020 election and on Monday received the endorsement of the wealthy DeVos family, Michigan’s most influential political kingmakers. Dixon, notably, is also the only candidate to receive a shout-out at Donald Trump’s rally in Michigan last month: The former president called her “fantastic” and “brilliant.”
At least one campaign vowed to fight for their qualification Monday night.
“The staff of the Democrat Secretary of Staff does not have the right to unilaterally void every single signature obtained by the alleged forgers who victimized five campaigns,” John Yob, a consultant for Johnson, wrote on Twitter, adding: “We strongly believe they are refusing to count thousands of signatures from legitimate voters who signed the petitions and look forward to winning this fight before the Board, and if necessary, in the courts.”
John Yob is showing the obvious way forward for Michigan Republicans: those dirty Democrats made up the signature fraud, and if it really was fraud, it was the signature collectors' fault that we paid, not our fault!
Then again, this is a state where jurors bought the "FBI entrapment plot" defense to get the terrorists off who tried to kidnap and kill Gov. Whitmer.
Who knows how this will turn out?