Another ‘out-of-touch’ rich Republican enters race for Michigan governor

Businessman Perry Johnson is running for governor of Michigan. - Perry Johnson campaign
Perry Johnson campaign
Businessman Perry Johnson is running for governor of Michigan.

Bloomfield Hills businessman Perry Johnson announced Thursday he’s running for governor, joining 12 other Republicans vying to unseat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Perry Johnson, 74, who calls himself a “quality guru,” said he’s running to improve state services.

“Michiganders deserve better, demand better, and with an emphasis on quality, would have a much better government,” Johnson said.

Johnson, an author and motivational speaker, founded the Perry Johnson Companies Group, a Troy-based quality management certification business.

“Governor Whitmer’s State of the State completely ignored the horrendous quality that taxpayers receive for their money from state government,” Johnson said in a statement. “A commitment to quality with proper statistical methods and transparency might well have prevented the $8.6 billion unemployment fraud, nursing home death scandal, Benton Harbor water crisis, kept schools open, and helped small businesses survive the pandemic.”

House Speaker Jason Wentworth, R-Farwell, and state Rep. Matt Hall, R-Marshall, all but endorsed Johnson in his announcement.

“I am neutral in the primary but if you searched the country for the best expert to hire to make dramatic improvement in quality in state government, the perfect person you would come up with is Perry Johnson,” Wentworth said.

Johnson didn’t say how much of his fortune he plans to spend on the race. Whitmer’s reelection campaign holds a multimillion-dollar fundraising advantage over Republicans. In November, Whitmer had $12.6 million on hand.

Other Republican candidates include former Detroit Police Chief James Craig, businessman Kevin Rinke, Michigan State Police Capt. Mike Brown, Grand Rapids entrepreneur Austin Chenge, former conservative online news host Tudor Dixon, Kent County businesswoman Donna Brandenburg, Lansing businessman Evan Space, Livingston County evangelist and substitute teacher Bob Scott, Oakland County pastor Ralph Rebandt, Ottawa County real estate agent Ryan Kelley, and chiropractor and conspiracy theorist Garret Soldano.

The Democratic Governments Association called Johnson “another out-of-touch self-funding millionaire” who has joined a “crowded” and “messy” field of candidates running “to the far right.”

DGA spokesman Sam Newton said Johnson’s candidacy indicates that Craig, who has been considered the frontrunner, continues to struggle to gain traction among Republicans. Craig’s previous consultant John Job is now working on Johnson’s campaign.

“Insiders tried to hand the GOP nomination to James Craig in gift wrapping, but all he did was open up an even more crowded and expensive primary,” Newton said. “While these out-of-touch candidates attack each other and push extreme agendas, Gov. Whitmer continues to address the biggest challenges facing Michiganders. That includes Gov. Whitmer's record of landing 4,000 new jobs with General Motors in Michigan, delivering $400 checks to drivers to save money on auto insurance, and bringing public education funding to historic levels — without raising taxes.”

Michigan Democratic Party spokeswoman Rodericka Applewhaite made a similar statement.

“Perry Johnson’s entry into the Republican gubernatorial race brings the clown car count back up to 12 and doubles the amount of out-of-touch millionaires trying to buy their way through this crowded and messy primary,” Applewhaite said. “But we can think of at least one Michigander Johnson can help given his background in the certification industry. James Craig is still trying to paper over the fact that he wasn’t certified to make arrests or issue warrants for the last decade of his career despite promising to do so.”

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About The Author

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
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