(WXYZ DIGITAL TEAM & ASSOCIATED PRESS) — Businessman Perry Johnson is the first to file an appeal after the Board of State Canvassers found five candidates seeking GOP nomination for Michigan governor ineligible for the August primary against Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Johnson's campaign released the following statement regarding the lawsuit:
"Yesterday the Board of Canvassers deadlocked 2-2 with Republicans voting to put us on the ballot and the Democrats voting with the Democrat Secretary of State to deprive us of ballot access. It was very clearly stated that the Secretary of State’s office violated the law in refusing to check 61,000 signatures. Their lack of adequate staffing is no excuse to break the law and deprive us of our rights.
Today we filed an appeal and are very confident that the courts will properly apply the law and put us on the ballot.
I have proposed a plan to bring quality to the petition process that would start with forcing the Secretary of State’s office to allow campaigns to check their signatures against the voter file prior to submission. This will help take partisanship out of the process. I look forward to implementing that plan as Governor.
Let me be clear to alleged perpetrators who victimized all these candidates - including Chief Craig and Tudor Dixon - and attempted to take options away from voters: you will be held accountable."
The Bureau said Monday it found thousands of forged or fraudulent signatures on petitions submitted by several GOP candidates that "displayed suspicious patterns indicative of fraud."
Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig, who has led in primary polling, called Thursday's party-line decision by the bipartisan Board of State Canvassers a “travesty” and said he will also file an immediate appeal in court.
The board's vote Thursday reshapes the race to take on Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in the battleground state this fall.
Perry Johnson by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 Detroit on Scribd