Challenge filed against James Craig’s petition signatures

James Craig, a former Detroit Police Chief, announces he is a Republican candidate for Governor of Michigan in Detroit, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) (Paul Sancya, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

LANSING, Mich. – A group tied to Republican gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon challenged nominating petitions submitted by rival candidate James Craig, saying Tuesday that he likely did not turn in enough valid signatures to qualify for the GOP primary.

Dixon, the former host of a conservative news show, and Craig, the ex-Detroit police chief, are among 10 Republicans who filed petitions by April 19. The deadline to contest signatures was Tuesday.

“After our review of Craig's petitions, we concluded that the combination of incompetence, invalidity, unregistered voters and apparent fraud means there is a strong probability that Craig submitted insufficient signatures to qualify as a Republican candidate for the governor — and it's likely that the Craig campaign knows it,” said Fred Wszolek, spokesperson for Michigan Strong, a super PAC supporting Dixon.

Craig spokesperson Marli Blackman called the challenge a “last-ditch effort by our opponents who are terrified by (the) chief's overwhelming grassroots support and momentum. We have total confidence in the signatures we submitted, and we look forward to defeating Gov. (Gretchen) Whitmer this fall."

To qualify, candidates for governor must turn in at least 15,000 but no more than 30,000 valid voter signatures. The political action committee challenged nearly 7,300 of the 21,735 signatures Craig submitted.

The bipartisan Board of State Canvassers will resolve the challenge and certify qualified candidates to the ballot.

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