Since last week, multiple outlets have been reporting on challenges filed against the nominating petitions submitted by James Craig, Tudor Dixon, and Perry Johnson. Evidence of extensive fraud ranging from forged signatures to the inclusion of deceased voters was uncovered, throwing into question whether any of the three will appear on the August primary ballot – a likely outcome not lost on Republicans like conservative columnist Nolan Finley.
As a reminder, all three Republican gubernatorial candidates are 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. Attorney Mark Brewer said the submitted petitions included mass and blatant fraudulent activity on an unprecedented scale.
See excerpts below from Finley’s latest column analyzing “the current disarray in the Republican Party, and its severe shortage of political expertise” and read the full report here.
Detroit News: Finley: GOP May Lose Its Top 3 in Gov Race
By Nolan Finley
Republicans may lose their top three contenders in the Michigan gubernatorial primary race even before the campaign gets warmed up.
James Craig, Perry Johnson and Tudor Dixon face the very real risk of not getting on the August primary ballot because of problems with their nominating petitions. […]
Blame their problems on inexcusably sloppy work, political naivete and a scarcity of competent signature gatherers — a byproduct of the overall labor shortage.
Craig, who says he didn’t fully understand the petition process, is most likely to lose his place on the ballot for failing to meet the 15,000 valid petition signature requirement.
Challenges from both fellow Republican Dixon and Democrats contend the former Detroit police chief’s petitions contain just 14,000 valid names, or perhaps less. The challengers say the 21,000 or so names filed by Craig are riddled with forgeries and unregistered voters.
Johnson, the multimillionaire whose prolific spending has him gaining steadily on Craig, used many of the same paid petition circulators as the chief’s campaign, and the 23,000 signatures have the same problems, according to a Democratic challenge. […]
Dixon met that threshold, but her petition sheets bear the wrong date for when the gubernatorial term she’s seeking ends. She put it at 2027. The correct date is 2026. […]
There’s no guarantee the court will ignore Dixon’s failure to dot all the “i’s” and cross all the “t’s.” It’s not OK to be sloppy, and the justices may not want to set a precedent of ignoring mistakes, no matter how small.
Veteran election watchers tell me it’s likely Craig won’t survive the challenges. For one thing, it takes time and money to verify disputed signatures.
If he has to take his case to the Supreme Court, it could cost his campaign $300,000 to $400,000. That’s money he doesn’t have.
In the meantime, fundraising comes to a stop for both him and Dixon. Donors aren’t going to write checks to a candidate who is at risk of falling off the ballot. […]
This entire business is reflective of the current disarray in the Republican Party, and its severe shortage of political expertise.
As one political veteran said last week, “The first 10 rules of campaigning are to get your candidate on the ballot.”
If all three of its top candidates get booted, Republicans will be in a world of hurt.