Michigan Bureau of Elections says top GOP gubernatorial candidates ineligible for ballot

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Two of the most prominent Republicans running for governor in Michigan are ineligible after failing to submit enough valid signatures to make it on the ballot.

Republicans seem to have lost two of their most serious contenders for the gubernatorial election in Michigan. Chief James Craig of the Detroit Police Department and businessman Perry Johnson – two of the most prominent Republicans running against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer – both failed to produce the valid signatures necessary to get on the ballot.

Gubernatorial candidates are required to submit 15,000 valid signatures to appear on the state ballot. According to the bureau, the affected candidates were victimized via a series of petitioners who obtained nothing but 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 must bring quality to the petition process by allowing campaigns a mechanism to compare signatures that are gathered by circulators with signatures on the Qualified Voter File to ensure their legitimacy.”

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“Criminals can commit fraud for money or by purposely infiltrating a victimized campaign with illegitimate signatures in a Machiavellian attempt by the opposing party to later have them removed from the ballot,” Johnson continued. “Unfortunately, the signatures provided to campaigns cannot currently be checked until after their submission to the Secretary of State. This needs to change, immediately.”

FILE - In this Nov. 21, 2019, file photo, Detroit Police Chief James Craig, left, speaks to the media at Detroit Public Safety Headquarters in Detroit.  

FILE – In this Nov. 21, 2019, file photo, Detroit Police Chief James Craig, left, speaks to the media at Detroit Public Safety Headquarters in Detroit.  
(David Guralnick/Detroit News via AP, File)

The Bureau of Elections announced the complications to the election Monday after reviewing materials submitted by the candidates.

The bureau said it tracked the invalid signatures to approximately 36 petitioners who submitted stacks of petitions with nothing but invalid or otherwise unusable signatures.

In total, five gubernatorial candidates in the state were found to have insufficient valid signatures: Craig, Johnson, Michael Markey, State Police Capt. Michael Brown and businesswoman Donna Brandenburg, according to the bureau.

Fox News reached out to Craig, Brown and Brandenburg for comment.

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FILE - Michigan gubernatorial candidate Perry Johnson, a Republican, briefly speaks with reporters, Feb. 23, 2022, after a kickoff event at a hotel in Lansing, Mich. Michigan’s elections bureau says, in reports issued Monday, May, 23, 2022, that five Republican candidates for governor, including businessman Perry Johnson, failed to file enough valid nominating signatures and shouldn't qualify for the August primary. (AP Photo/David Eggert, File)

FILE – Michigan gubernatorial candidate Perry Johnson, a Republican, briefly speaks with reporters, Feb. 23, 2022, after a kickoff event at a hotel in Lansing, Mich. Michigan’s elections bureau says, in reports issued Monday, May, 23, 2022, that five Republican candidates for governor, including businessman Perry Johnson, failed to file enough valid nominating signatures and shouldn’t qualify for the August primary. (AP Photo/David Eggert, File)

The stunning shake-up threatens to completely derail Republicans’ efforts in Michigan.

The Board of State Canvassers will review the Bureau of Election’s findings on Thursday to determine how to proceed.

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