James Craig, Tudor Dixon and Perry Johnson all face challenges on their nominating petitions with the Bureau of Elections and the Board of Canvassers. All are implicated in an illegal “round robin” signature forging scheme in which “a small group of people sign[ing] names and addresses in turn, one per sheet, using a voter list.”
Craig, Dixon, and Johnson were also caught exploiting the signatures of “verifiably” deceased voters. Attorney Mark Brewer said the submitted petitions included mass and blatant fraudulent activity on an unprecedented scale.
These allegations that have shaken up the Republican gubernatorial primary remained the subject of intense media coverage through the end of last week and over the weekend.
On Capitol Rundown, Tim Skubick Set the Stage on the Fate of the Nominating Petitions Challenges Filed Against James Craig, Tudor Dixon, and Perry Johnson in the Days to Come
SKUBICK: The State Board of Canvassers on May the 26th will sit down and try to sort through all of these allegations. [MDP attorney Mark] Brewer by the way, says he turned in over 200 pages of proof that there was forgery. And so the canvassers will decide, if they decide enough valid signatures were turned in, these two gentlemen, two Republicans will be on the ballot. If not, they’ll find something else to do this summer, because they’ll be off the ballot. And that, that would be unprecedented. It would be huge, and would change the entire dynamics in the race for governor on the Republican side. Huge story here.
The Most Recent ‘Off the Record’ Panel Discussed The Major Impact the Three Nominating Petitions Could Have on the Gubernatorial Primary
HOST TIM SKUBICK: So here’s the question, guys, if this alleged fraud story involving these two Republican candidates indeed turns out to be true, the impact on the governor’s race on a scale of one to 10, Ms. Clark is a…?
ZOE CLARK (Michigan Radio): 9.99999.
SKUBICK: At least you’re consistent. Stella?
STELLA YU (Bridge Michigan): That plus 0.0001.
JIM KIERTZNER (WXYZ): They add up to 10. I’m gonna go 10-plus, off the charts.
The Panel Analyzed How This Significant Fraudulent Activity Reflects on the Integrity of Craig, Dixon, and Johnson’s Campaigns
CLARK: Yeah, I don’t know that we’ve ever seen anything like this in recent memory, if even one of these candidates gets knocked off the ballot. […] But I mean, for three candidates, and statewide, you know, a couple of whom seem to be top-tier candidates, or at least that’s sort of what we’ve been led to believe, right. I mean, it’s just, it’s fascinating, and I think just goes to show I mean, is it political novices that are running these campaigns? What is going on to let this happen? It’s pretty astounding.
KIERTZNER: […] I had a prominent Republican say to me after this broke, you have a former police chief and the quality guru Perry Johnson. It’s happened to them, where’s their internal quality control? How can this happen with them? It’s laughable.
SKUBICK: As long as we’re talking about unprecedented, can you ever remember a campaign basically conceding that some of the signatures were fraudulent?
KIERTZNER: I think the facts are the facts, and they can’t ignore the facts and they have to address them. And issue the apology, issue the mea culpa, whatever you want to call it, but they can’t ignore what happened and it was just shoddy within their campaign.
Clark Underscored the Personal Responsibility Challenged Candidates Had in Verifying the Validity of Their Submitted Signatures
SKUBICK: Well, here’s the other issue that will be raised. If indeed fraud is discovered and validated, is anybody punished?
CLARK: When the candidates turn in the signatures, right, they’re signing their names that these are, you know, they’re attesting to the fact that these are accurate signatures. And to Chief Craig, although, in his response a couple times the lawyers called him chief Clark, in the legal documents.
SKUBICK: This was an attorney from Missouri, so we’ll cut him some slack. […] It sort of says something, doesn’t it?
CLARK: Well, I think and that I think, again, goes into this idea of like, how much care is being taken into what really is the foundation of running, you know, especially a statewide gubernatorial campaign?
Radio Host Steve Henderson Pointed Out the Irony of Craig’s Fraudulent Behavior While Actively Undermining Public Trust in Elections on the Campaign Trail
HOST STEPHEN HENDERSON: Leading up to his official announcement, a lot of people thought that James Craig, the former chief of police here in Detroit, would be the favorite for the Republican nomination to become next governor here in Michigan. But ever since making that announcement in September, Craig has been met with all kinds of trouble. […] Some challengers to Craig’s candidacy say that nearly a third of the signatures submitted by his campaign were fraudulent. If this proves true, it would lead to an early end for the Craig campaign. […] James Craig has said that he believes that there are problems with the voting in 2020 in Michigan. Really ironic that he now faces serious questions about fraudulent signatures to get him onto the ballot. […]
Henderson and Bridge Michigan’s Jonathan Oosting Discussed the “Damning” Evidence Stacking Up, and the Quality Control Measures Competent Campaigns Conduct to Avoid These Outcomes
JONATHAN OOSTING (Bridge Michigan): …The evidence, you know, looks pretty damning. I mean, Chief Craig’s attorney, even said this week that the campaign may have been defrauded, or duped, they still hope that they have enough signatures, even if the forged ones are tossed out. […]
HENDERSON: …I have to say, I’ve never heard of it happening as robustly as the allegations here. And we should be clear about that. […] The allegations here are very serious, it seems to me and I can’t remember another time that we had the possibility of losing candidates, multiple candidates and in a governor’s race because of it.
OOSTING: …It’s especially rare for a front runner, like James Craig, who seemingly would have resources to hire competent campaign folks to review signatures before turning them in. That’s usually how these operations work. Campaigns collect the signatures, and then they, you know, conduct quality control measures themselves to make sure that what they’re turning in is legit, and they’re not going to end up in this very same situation Craig finds himself. But apparently, that did not happen, at least not to any great extent for the Craig campaign.
HENDERSON: …To make sure that you know, you’re doing the things that you can do to win, it requires a lot of organization, it requires a sophisticated level of management. And regardless of the outcomes here, I think it says something about the Craig campaign and some of these others about who’s managing them and who’s running them, that we are even facing these kinds of questions at this point after the signature deadline. […]
Oosting Shared That Even Republicans Have Taken Notice of Craig’s Basic “Competency Hurdle”
OOSTING: …A lot of Republican operatives, you know, professionals in this field that I’ve talked to in the last week have just been shaking their head sort of befuddled that the campaign would have allowed James Craig to even get into this situation now. I mean, ultimately, you know, Craig is the head of the campaign. And you know, so he’s gonna face criticism for this, whether he makes the ballot or not, I think people are gonna question you know, what it says about his ability to lead a state if he has trouble leading a campaign of this kind, you know, those issues certain things will, will come up in the fall if he does, in fact qualify for the ballot. […] This is seen as sort of a competency hurdle, sir, the first check to actually qualify for the ballot. […] The Tudor Dixon SuperPAC alleges that James Craig campaign tried to turn in another 4500 signatures on the deadline day, but actually missed the deadline by about 30 minutes. Perhaps he wouldn’t be in this situation if they hadn’t missed that deadline. And similarly this week, you know, his attorney did formally respond to the signature challenge, but he did so two days after the deadline to respond to the signature challenge.