Yesterday, the news broke in multiple outlets that challenges were filed against the nominating petitions submitted by Republican gubernatorial candidates James Craig, Tudor Dixon, and Perry Johnson. Should they stand, all three could be excluded from the August primary ballot.
The revelations have kicked off a swarm of attacks being lobbed among the three campaigns where each candidate simultaneously and unsuccessfully attempts to acknowledge the legitimacy of the other two challenges while downplaying their own petition issues.
As a reminder, a review of the nominated petitions showed extensive evidence of fraudulent and forged signatures submitted by Craig, Dixon, and Johnson. They are all implicated in an illegal “round robin” signature forging scheme that AP described as “a small group of people sign[ing] names and addresses in turn, one per sheet, using a voter list.” They were also all caught relying on the signatures of “verifiably” deceased voters.
To make some sense of the chaos detailed below, MDP has provided a helpful visual aid.
In a fundraising email, Tudor Dixon said the challenges made against Craig and Johnson are credible and they “might have real problems and could fail to get on the ballot.” The hits didn’t stop there.
- On Craig: “Attorney Mark Brewer, the lawyer who filed the complaint challenging Craig’s signatures, says there is massive fraud and forgery in Mr. Craig’s petitions on a scale he’s never seen before in 40 years working in Michigan election law.”
- On Johnson: “Attorney Steven Leidel says they already have dozens of fraudulent petitions somehow signed by ‘verifiably dead’ people in Perry Johnson’s petitions.”
- Fact checker’s note: Liedel is also the attorney that filed a challenge against Dixon citing deceased voters in her petitions as well.
Fred Wszolek, spokesperson for pro-Dixon PAC Michigan Strong, also added to the attacks: “Craig’s incompetent campaign attempted to submit an additional 4,200 signatures last Tuesday at 4:30 pm, apparently unaware that the hard and fast filing deadline was at 4:00. Thousands of other signatures were collected with the same seeming indifference for the law, including obvious cases of circulator forgery. […] The crazy thing is that Team Craig turned them in like this in sequential order. They obviously didn’t pick up on it, but they made it super easy for us to catch the pattern.”
At a campaign stop yesterday in Grand Haven, “prolific junk faxer” Perry Johnson said “it’s very likely that Chief Craig will not be on the ballot.” His campaign consultant John Yob also walked the contradictory tightrope of calling the challenge against the Johnson campaign “absurd” while also conceding that they pose “statistically consequential” impacts to the other two campaigns, per Gongwer.
Chief “neophyte” James Craig saved most of his powder for Dixon, who he said only mounted a challenge in the first place because she’s running a campaign “that’s not doing very well in the polling” but noted that he is interested in what the challenges uncover.
MDP spokesperson Rodericka Applewhaite issued the following statement:
“It’s tough to see the logic of how mass forgers James Craig, Tudor Dixon, and Perry Johnson think they can call out the other two without also implicating themselves in the process, but these are also the same three Republicans that thought they could pave their path through this messy and crowded primary with rampant election fraud and verifiably dead voters.”