The Spectacle of the Remaining Michigan GOP Governor Candidates

After the top two contenders for the Michigan GOP candidate to take on Gretchen Whitmer as governor were disqualified after submitting false petition signatures, the five remaining candidates are quite the spectacle.

The battle looks like a race to the bottom, with the primary winner having the least amount of personal baggage while propping up the falsehood of fraud in the 2020 election.

Ryan Kelley, a real-estate broker — who pled not guilty on Thursday in a federal court to misdemeanor charges after authorities said he rallied Donald Trump’s supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection — is not unique in his position as an inferior candidate.

Kevin Rinke (rhymes with Dinky) is a former car-dealership businessman who was sued by four employees in 1992 for making sexual and racist comments.

  • A female employee alleged he once asked her if she had a “matching bra and panties on.”
  • Rinke remarked that “women should not be allowed to work in public,” and that they are “ignorant and stupid.”
  • Rinke allegedly called a woman to say he was willing to bet she was having sex with her boyfriend. 
  •  referred to his own genitals as “golden” while threatening to sexually assault a used car manager if he didn’t “do a good job.” If the manager did a “great job,” the court documents state, Rinke would have allowed the man to pleasure him sexually.
  • Another lawsuit filed in the same year by a Black employee alleged Rinke repeatedly made derogatory racist remarks directed at him during a holiday party in December 1991.
  • Rinke asked the Black employee if his car was stolen, and the employee responded that he doesn’t steal. To which Rinke allegedly responded, according to the suit, “You mean you aren’t like the rest of the (N-word).”

A July 1992 court filing in Macomb County Circuit Court said the parties in the case agreed to a dismissal order. The order was signed by Judge Raymond Cashen. The defendants offered a $15,000 settlement to the female employee.

Garrett Soldano, a chiropracter — created the Facebook group Michiganders Against Excessive Quarantine which gained roughly 380,000 members before Facebook shut it down for the spread of misinformation and threats. Soldano prefers the pronouns “conservative, patriot,” and is anti-transgender.

Soldano hawked a product called Juice Plus, which he falsely claimed could “dominate” any virus, including COVID-19, and had the added benefit of giving him “great bowel movements.”

“He’ll never be governor because Gretchen Whitmer will just beat his brains out,” said Fred Wszolek, a longtime adviser to the family of former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who is running a super PAC backing Tudor Dixon, another GOP contender.

Tudor Dixon, co-host of a conservative online news show, is touted as the “establishment” candidate, with endorsements from the DeVos family, Right to Life, former governor John Engler, state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. Dixon has suggested public schools are a hotbed of government-sponsored perversion. She also wants to make it a crime for an adult to bring a minor to a drag queen event.

Her current family values emphasis constrasts with a past career in low-budget horror productions including zombie movies, and a role described as a soft-porn British vampire named Claire.

Associated Press, BridgeMI