Number of GOP Governor Candidates Slashed in Half Due to Fraudulent Petition Signatures

According to the Michigan Bureau of Elections, five of the ten GOP candidates for governor should not qualify for the Republican primary ballot because they submitted fraudulent or invalid signatures.

The report is a recommendation to the bipartisan State Board of Canvassers, which will officially decide eligibility on Thursday. That panel is comprised of two Democrats and two Republicans.

At the top of the heap of discards is former Detroit Police Chief James Craig who led the vast field in all polls. The report showed Craig submitted 21,305 petition signatures to the state last month, but only 10,192 appear valid.

Another candidate, Perry Johnson, a wealthy businessman and self-proclaimed “quality guru,” fell 1,200 valid signatures short of qualifying.

Both Craig and Johnson were accused of submitting forged signatures collected by a group of paid circulators. All told, the state estimates the circulators submitted at least 68,000 invalid signatures on nominating petitions for 10 different judicial and gubernatorial candidates. 

Report Links Fraudulent Signatures to 36 Circulators and One Company

A footnote in the report connected the fraudulent signatures to a company owned by a Michigan man, Shawn Wilmoth. In 2011, Wilmoth was convicted of two counts of election fraud in Virginia, and was called out for his work in Florida as recently as 2021.

The cost of gathering signatures has escalated from $5-$7 to as much as $20.

Wilmoth has not responded when asked for comment.

DeVos Family Backs Tudor Dixon

Betsy’s billionaire husband Dick DeVos announced Monday morning before the report came out that they were backing Tudor Dixon, “as being the next right governor for the state of Michigan.”

As the mother of school-age children, Dixon has been impacted by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “ridiculous shutdowns and manipulations” and “failed leadership,” he said.

Dixon’s petition was also under scrutiny but was deemed eligible by the report, with a “harmless” error of date of term expiration. At a May 12 debate, Dixon declared that Trump won the 2020 election, which is likely why Trump called her “special” at a fundraising event in Mar-a-Lago.

Dick DeVos lost a bid for governor to current Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm in 2006, and Betsy has advocated for school choice and public tax dollars funneled to private schools — which would require a state constitutional amendment.

Detroit Free Press, BridgeMichigan