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Courts have lawsuits from 3 Republicans barred from ballot

James Craig
J. Scott Park/Jackson Citizen Patriot via AP)
Associated Press

Front runner Detroit Police Chief James Craig accused of fake signatures on petition

Two more Republican candidates for governor are suing to get on the Aug. 2 primary ballot, just days before the Michigan lineup must be settled.

James Craig filed a lawsuit Friday night in the Court of Claims while Michael Markey went to the Court of Appeals on Sunday.

They were declared ineligible last week, the result of a tie vote by the Board of State Canvassers. State election officials said they didn’t meet the 15,000-signature threshold because of fraudulent signatures on petitions.

Perry Johnson and Donna Brandenburg also didn’t make the ballot. Johnson filed a lawsuit Friday.

There seems to be no dispute that fraudulent signatures were turned in by paid circulators, though there’s no evidence that the candidates were aware of the scam.

The candidates want courts to order the board to put them on the ballot. They said the elections bureau should have inspected petitions line by line.

In Johnson’s case, the appeals court said it could make a decision Tuesday.

Five other Republican candidates landed a ballot spot, including Tudor Dixon, a former conservative TV news host who has the backing of Betsy DeVos, head of the U.S. Education Department during the Trump administration.

Craig, a former Detroit police chief, has significant name recognition in southeastern Michigan, especially Detroit. But it’s not clear how much that will help in a Republican primary. Detroit voters typically go for Democrats.

The winner of the Republican primary will face Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in November.

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