DETROIT (WXYZ) — Michigan’s gubernatorial race got a little smaller Thursday after the Michigan Board of Canvassers found the top two candidates seeking GOP nomination for Michigan governor and three others ineligible for the August primary against Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
The Bureau said Monday it found thousands of forged or fraudulent signatures on petitions submitted by several GOP candidates that "displayed suspicious patterns indicative of fraud,” an issue that will be challenged in court.
Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig, who was ahead in primary polling, businessman Perry Johnson, Michael Brown, and two other candidates did not qualify for the ballot.
The bipartisan board composed of two Democrats and two Republicans were deadlocked Thursday when deciding who should and should not make the ballot. Each candidate needed three votes to participate in the August primary.
Craig submitted 10,192 valid signatures — short of the 15,000 needed, the bureau said. 11,113 signatures, including 9,879 that they allege were fraudulently collected by 18 paid circulators were tossed. Johnson submitted 13,800 valid signatures, but 9,393 were thrown out, including 6,983 that the bureau said are fraudulent and were gathered by the same people who also forged signatures submitted by Craig submitted.
The bureau is working to refer the fraud to law enforcement for criminal investigation, but said it doesn't believe specific campaigns or candidates were aware of the actions of “fraudulent-petition circulators.”