Gubernatorial candidate Perry Johnson failed to qualify for the ballot, appellate court rules

The self-described ‘quality guru’ spent millions of dollars of his own money on the campaign

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

Republican gubernatorial candidate Perry Johnson, the self-described “quality guru” who pumped more than $2.5 million of his own money into his campaign, lost his appeal to get on the ballot for the August primary election.

The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the Board of State Canvassers made the right decision by kicking him off the ballot for failing to turn in enough valid signatures.

He and four other Republican gubernatorial candidates, including onetime frontrunner James Craig, the former Detroit police chief, were disqualified when canvassers voted 2-2 last week on whether they should make the ballot.

The four Republicans turned in thousands of fraudulent signatures.

Three of the candidates — Johnson, Craig, and financial adviser Michael Markey — challenged the decision in various courts, saying the canvassers failed to examine every petitions signature to confirm whether they were forged.

The courts have not yet ruled on the other candidates’ challenges.

The canvassers “had a clear legal duty to investigate, but it did not have a clear legal duty to conduct a comparison of each fraudulent signature against the qualified voter file," Court of Appeals said. "Likewise, because the board had the discretion to not check each and every signature submitted by the fraudulent-petition circulators, the act Johnson is seeking to compel defendants to perform is not ministerial in nature."

It’s not yet clear whether Johnson plans to appeal the decision to the Michigan Supreme Court.

The remaining Republicans running in the primary election for governor are conservative pundit and businesswoman Tudor Dixon, Ottawa County real estate broker Ryan Kelley, pastor Ralph Rebandt, businessman Kevin Rinke, and chiropractor Garrett Soldano.

The winner of the August primary will take on Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in November.

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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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