'Historic' number of gubernatorial candidates could be on GOP primary ballot

10 candidates will have signatures submitted by deadline
The 10 Republican Candidates for Governor
Posted at 10:10 PM, Apr 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-19 12:35:38-04

LANSING, Mich. — A lot of people can say they are running for office, but it’s not really official until their name is on the ballot—and the Republican primary this August could see a “historic” number of names on the ballot.

For months, campaigns have been collecting signatures across the state, with the deadline to submit at least 15,000 valid ones set for Tuesday (April 19) at 4 pm.

Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig became the latest republican candidate for governor to file petition signatures to get his name on the August primary ballot, handing in more than 21,000 Monday.

“I’m confident I’m the candidate that can give competition to our governor,” proclaimed Craig.

Craig is the 7th republican nominee-hopeful to turn in signatures. Activist and Mattawan chiropractor Garrett Soldano was the first to file back in January, followed by Grand Haven’s Mike Markey Jr., Michigan State Police Captain Michael Brown, Pastor Ralph Rebandt, former Allendale Planning Commissioner Ryan Kelley, and businesswoman Donna Brandenberg.

Businessman Kevin Rinke submitted more than 21,000 signatures Monday afternoon.

Campaigns for conservative media personality Tudor Dixon and businessman Perry Johnson told FOX 17 they will submit more than 20,000 signatures on Tuesday.

When that deadline comes and goes, there will be a whopping 10 GOP candidates who will have turned in signatures and barring any unforeseen circumstances will be on the ballot in August facing off to secure the Republican Party nomination.

“It's a huge number of candidates. In fact, it's historic. We probably haven't seen this many candidates in the GOP primary, ever,” says John Sellek, CEO of Harbor Strategic Public Affairs.

Sellek, a longtime Republican consultant and strategist in Michigan says for the Republican Party, that shows energy.

“There's a ton of energy that's frustrated with what's going on at the national level, with President Biden, with the economy, with COVID with inflation. We've just never seen this many people, especially folks who really don't have a background in running for office, or even running a major corporation. They don't have the typical resume, but they have the passion and the fire,” says Sellek.

Turning in signatures is just the first real hurdle in what will be a tough campaign heading to August.

“It's a huge milestone internally for every one of these campaigns and they all want to sit back and pop some champagne from it and say, man, we got that done. And the thing is, no one cares,” laughed Sellek.

”No one's gonna pat you on the back and say 'good job you got your signatures.' You said you were running for governor, so you're running for governor, wow you've got your signatures, get to work,” he added. “Tomorrow, they just got to get back out on the trail and get after it.”

Each candidate needs at least 15,000 valid signatures, meaning they are from registered voters in Michigan and those voters also haven’t signed for more than one candidate.

The Board of State Canvassers has until the end of May to verify them.

The winner of the August race will face Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer in November. Whitmer's campaign turned in 30,000 signatures in March.