Weekly Roundup: More Audit Plaudits, Craig’s Certification Struggles, and the MIGOP’s Frivolous Recall Own-Goals

Welcome back to another riveting week of the crowded gubernatorial race in Michigan, or as National Journal put it, “one of the most unsettled on the 2022 map of governor races.” Here’s the highlights:

Michigan Republicans continue to bend over backwards in their attempts to keep multiple 2020 conspiracy theories on the front burner at once. This week, candidates Ryan Kelley and Garrett Soldano descended on the statehouse in Lansing to lend their voices to the base’s call for a ‘full forensic audit’ of the previous general election.

A Michigan legislator – and we truly wish this was a joke – even showed up to Tuesday’s rally wearing a Qanon flag pin. We’re going to have to come up with another word for extremist, as that title was previously reserved for folks on the ideological fringes that could never find the backing to obtain legitimate positions within our democratic system.

Not to be outdone, James Craig “walked off the dock” (not our words but conservative columnist Nolan Finley’s) straight into the far-right deep end with a full-throated push for yet another audit of Michigan’s 2020 results as spelled out in an op-ed he penned this week. It was a marked departure from his previous refusal to address the election at all, much less allude to the baseless belief that results were reversed. 

Alas, Craig’s newfound concern with meeting previously agreed upon standards prior to seeing something as legitimately certified is selective at best. This week, Michigan Radio broke the story that for the final decade of his career, Craig refused to complete (despite promising to do so) the standard process that would’ve officially certified him as a police officer and authorized him to make arrests and issue warrants, better known as huge components of being a cop. 

The blowback was swift from the law enforcement community at large. Fellow gubernatorial candidate and certified Michigan State Police Captain Mike Brown likened Craig’s actions to “masquerad[ing] as a police officer in uniform,” but the spiciest quote belongs to Marquette County Sheriff and MCOLES board member Greg Zyburt:

“It will be even tougher now for Craig to claim he’s ‘led from the front’ when he couldn’t show respect for a process everyone else must go through before they get to wield a gun and badge. Too ‘time-consuming’ to meet a basic requirement of a law enforcement officer? Imagine how exhausting he’d find the governor’s office.”

In a weak attempt to muddy the waters Republicans kicked up dust with a strained interpretation of their frivolous lawsuit   as has become custom with Republicans and election norms, the facts were ignored, as noted by Detroit Free Press:

“In a Wednesday court filing in the suit filed by Weiser, Benson said through the Attorney General’s Office that Whitmer gains no unfair advantage from the extra money her campaign has collected because any funds not spent fighting recalls must be returned to donors or donated to a political party or charity. Therefore, there is no basis for Weiser’s suit, she said.”

We’ll have to see what other fun distraction tactics they come up with next week.

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