Michigan disqualifies five GOP candidates for governor due to forged petition signatures

The rejected candidates could still appear on the ballot if they win legal challenges, according to Jonathan Oosting of Bridge Michigan.

Five Republican candidates for governor have been disqualified from the ballot following a review from the state’s Board of Canvassers. The candidates in question are Republican frontrunners James Craig and Perry Johnson, as well as Donna Brandenburg, Michael Brown and Michael Markey.

Often candidates hire firms to help find signatures for ballot initiatives. First Choice Consulting, which is run by Shawn Wilmoth and based in Warren, is the main firm facing scrutiny. Wilmoth also has a history of petition fraud in the state of Virginia.

The rejected candidates would now have to file legal challenges to appear on the ballot this year.

“Most campaigns try and vet signatures themselves, to make sure they don’t end up putting in any fake signature, but this doesn’t appear to have happened.”— Jonathan Oosting, Bridge Michigan

Listen: Why five Republican candidates for governor face an uphill battle to appear on the ballot.



Jonathan Oosting is a Michigan politics reporter for Bridge Michigan. He says the circulators responsible for forged signatures could face criminal prosecution.

“To the question of the circulators,” says Oosting, “I imagine many — if they’re not already fleeing the state — are going to face prosecution in the near future.”

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