Judge rules against Michigan Republican seeking governor bid

FILE - Michigan gubernatorial candidate Perry Johnson, a Republican, briefly speaks with reporters, on Feb. 23, 2022, after a kickoff event at a hotel in Lansing, Mich. Johnson lost a bid to get on the Aug. 2 primary ballot Wednesday, June 1, 2022, in the first key court decision since election officials found campaign petitions rife with fraudulent signatures.(AP Photo/David Eggert, File) (David Eggert, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

DETROIT – A federal judge in Michigan on Monday refused Republican Perry Johnson’s request to halt the printing of ballots for the GOP primary or to put his name on the ballot for governor, further dashing Johnson’s chances at challenging Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Johnson was among five governor candidates who were deemed ineligible for the Aug. 2 ballot after the state elections bureau determined they fell short of collecting the necessary number of valid signatures. The elections bureau found that the candidates submitted fake signatures collected by paid petition circulators.

Johnson, who has put millions of dollars of his personal fortune into the race, went to court to try to get into the ballot.

U.S. District Court Judge Mark Goldsmith on Monday rejected his bid for a temporary restraining order or an injunction, saying Johnson hasn't shown he was unconstitutionally left off the ballot. Goldsmith noted many counties have begun printing ballots and face a June deadline to mail them to voters overseas or serving in the military.

A spokesman for Johnson's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Last week, former Detroit police Chief James Craig said he would run as a write-in candidate after being scratched from the ballot.

Five candidates remain in the Republican primary: Tudor Dixon, Kevin Rinke, Ryan Kelley, Garrett Soldano and Ralph Rebandt.

Kelley was charged last week with misdemeanors for his actions while attending the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. His lawyer said Kelley plans to remain in the race.