James Craig among 5 GOP challengers for governor recommended to be disqualified from primary

The state election bureau has recommended that five GOP candidates for governor - including former Detroit Police Chief James Craig - to be left off the August 4th Primary ballot due to a lack of valid signatures.

Along with Craig, the other four Republican candidates who could be sidelined include businessman Perry Johnson, financial adviser Michael Markey, Michigan State Police commander Michael Brown and businesswoman Donna Brandenburg, reports FOX 2 Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick.

For now, it is only a recommendation against including the five on the ballot. On Thursday the state Board of Canvassers will meet to act on the recommendation and possibly finalize it, Skubick said.

The state bureau that did the review of the petition names determined that the candidates themselves did not know that alleged fraud was going on.

Candidates had to collect at least 15,000 signatures to qualify. Skubick says invalid signatures were the reason in the election bureau's recommendation.

Craig told FOX 2's Roop Raj that he thinks he knows why this happened.

"I'm the threat," he said. "You know what's sad about this? The people of Michigan should have a say on who should lead their state, fair and square.

"All the shenanigans. I'll say it, I'm practical. I can't prove anything right now, but I am going to get to the bottom of it, because they wanted me out."

Norm Shinkle, who sits on the Board of Canvassers as the Republican chair, said he has never seen anything like it. 

"Nothing this widespread," he said, adding he thinks the petition circulators "should go to jail." 

The chairman of the commission says petitions were being signed by circulators who sat around the table. 

"They could see, every fourth signature, fifth signature, the same handwriting," he said. "It's obvious, we'll look to confirm that, that the fraudulent copying of names was obvious."

The five candidates must convince the state board on Thursday that the staff got it wrong. If they lose in that venue, they can go to the courts to try to get on the ballot.

There was no shortage of GOP challengers to incumbent Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and preliminary indications are that five remaining candidates made the cut to appear on the ballot. 

The remaining field of candidates is former America's Voice anchor and businesswoman Tudor Dixon, Ryan Kelley, a former Allendale planning commissioner, Ralph Rebrandt, a pastor at Oakland Hills Community Church, auto dealership group owner Kevin Rinke, and Garrett Soldano, a chiropractor from the west side of the state.