The 10 Republicans running for Michigan governor

The field is crowded with Republicans hoping to challenge Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in November. But there’s few A-list candidates in the bunch.

The deadline has passed for candidates running for governor this year to turn in their signatures and paperwork.

As part of the weekly series MichMash, WDET’s Jake Neher and Slate’s Cheyna Roth talk about who’s in and who’s out on the Republican side.

Subscribe to MichMash on iTunesSpotifyGoogle PodcastsNPR One or wherever you get your podcasts.

Republicans are down from a dozen men and women who were actively trying to get on the primary ballot to 10 who have filed all of their paperwork and signatures. Now, there’s still a possibility for challenges, that signatures could be tossed out and some candidates not make it to the primary, but for the time being we have 10 Republicans ready to battle it out to be the one candidate who challenges Democratic incumbent Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in November.

Self-described quality guru Perry Johnson was the last of the candidates to file nominating petitions. He sounded pretty confident the other day when he spoke with Michigan Public Radio Network’s Colin Jackson and other reporters.

“In the end, we think we’re going to win,” he said. “So, I’m going to be here talking to all of you in the end. So, why not have an opportunity at the end for everybody see what Michigan is going to have in the future.”

The list of GOP candidates

There are 10 candidates for the party nomination. You can get a deeper look at the individual candidates in a piece reporter Jonathan Oosting recently wrote for Bridge Michigan.

Those candidates are:

“There’s just a ton of candidates here,” Oosting tells MichMash. “It’s pretty surprising, honestly, that so many — I’m told it’s a record number of candidates — were able to collect at least 15,000 signatures which you know, it’s pretty big task.”

But there’s still a way to go before the Board of State Canvassers officially approve the candidates, and Oosting says it’s likely there will be some challenges.

A lack of GOP A-listers

There are also plenty of high-profile Republican names that aren’t on the list of candidates, including former U.S. Rep. and current Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller, GOP Chair Ronna McDaniel or even state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake).

And the real question that’s going to be on everyone’s minds is — although there are a lot of candidates — are any of them the right candidate?

Whitmer has a huge war chest and is going to come out swinging. Plus, she’s got all the benefits of being an incumbent. But there’s also the drawback of being an incumbent during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For Republicans, this is still anybody’s game as long as they can stay on the field come August, and then November.

More from MichMash:

Chaos at county conventions: Why it matters

Clerks plead for help from state leaders

Whitmer’s budget turns heads in election year

Bills would crack down on lying petition circulators

Political storylines to watch this year in Michigan

Trusted, accurate, up-to-date.

WDET strives to make our journalism accessible to everyone. As a public media institution, we maintain our journalistic integrity through independent support from readers like you. If you value WDET as your source of news, music and conversation, please make a gift today.

Donate today »


  • Jake Neher
    Jake Neher is senior producer for Detroit Today and host of MichMash for 101.9 WDET. He previously reported on the Michigan Legislature for the Michigan Public Radio Network.
  • Cheyna Roth
    Cheyna has interned with Michigan Radio and freelanced for WKAR public radio in Lansing. She's also done some online freelancing and worked on documentary films.