TUESDAY NEWS HIT - James Craig says he's not ready to give up the race for governor, following a recommendation from the Michigan Bureau of Elections that he failed to submit enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.
"I'm a fighter, always been a fighter. Michigan wants something different. I know, everyone else knows, I was the GOP candidate that would have upset the incumbent," Craig told FOX 2 following the report from the bureau.
Craig was considered the front-runner for the nomination. But now, he along with four other candidates for Michigan governor may face disqualification instead of a primary race. Perry Johnson, Michael Markey, Michael Brown, and Donna Brandenburg also failed to get enough valid signatures.
It's a major shakeup in a contentious political environment. If the recommendations are upheld, it would also cut the number of Republican candidates running for governor in half. To qualify for the race, candidates need 15,000 signatures from across the state.
But according to the bureau, Craig submitted more than 9,000 fraudulent signatures. Perry Johnson, the self-proclaimed ‘quality guru’ who was also trending in the polls had 9,393 signatures tossed. While the agency uncovered the fake signatures on their own and not by processing challenges to the petitions, it also tossed a challenge to Tudor Dixon's petitions, which alleged the former radio host had listed the wrong date on her petition.
Craig cited his lead in the polls that put a target on his back. "I'm a threat to the Democrat party. I'm also a threat to my other Republican opponents," he said, before alleging that he believes "shenanigans" were real, although he wasn't able to prove it.
In a statement, Johnson said "In my campaign I have always promised to bring quality to every area of Michigan government. It is clear to me that our petition process needs to be overhauled and made more secure to protect the thousands of voters who sign for their preferred candidate."
The news from the bureau drops at a significant point in the race. A high-profile endorsement of Dixon by the Republican-backing Devos family could hold even more sway over the race if two of the other top contenders for the governorship are removed from the campaign.
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 bureau identified 36 circulators who submitted sheets consisting entirely of invalid signatures across at least 10 campaigns, including for governor and local judgeships. Staff did not flag a reason for the fraud but noted the difficulty securing circulators and signatures for campaigns and ballot initiatives nationwide during the pandemic. Circulators often are paid per signature.
Staff identified an unusually large number of sheets with every signature line completed or that showed no normal wear such as folds, scuffing or minor damage from rain. They flagged sheets on which handwriting of certain letters across different signatures and information was near identical. Staff also reported an unusually high number of signatures corresponding to dead voters and to addresses where living voters no longer live.
Charges against those circulators may be an outcome of the petition review. As for the candidates that failed to get enough signatures, the review is only a recommendation and the state Board of Canvassers will have the option to act on it, or reject it when they meet Thursday.
Man who helped at scene of I-75 semi-truck crash shares story
Dashcam footage caught the moment a semi-truck slammed into the median on I-75 and another semi-truck turned around. The nasty accident caused massive backups on Saturday. Michigan State Police said a blue semi-truck lost control after running into debris, following a white semi crashing into the median just a few moments prior.
But it was a good Samaritan's quick thinking that responders hope people take notice of. "He was covered in glass, he had blood running down his arm, and little glass shards of glass," Kenneth McKay said. "And he went to rub his face with his shirt and I said, 'No, don’t do that, you’ll get glass in your eyes.' He was in shock."
McKay arrived when traffic was slowed. So he pulled over to check on the driver. He waited with the injured driver for about five minutes before police arrived. The moment had an impact on him. "Don’t assume that someone else is going to stop," Cristina McKay said. "We saw approximately 100 cars that drove by and not a single person stopped."
According to Michigan State Police, there were only reports of minor injuries, amazingly everyone was able to walk away. State police say the driver of the blue semi-truck was going too fast for the wet conditions.
Philanthropy efforts create eviction defense fund in Detroit
About two weeks after Detroit City Council enacted an ordinance that guarantees legal counsel for tenants facing eviction - a legal defense fund for low-income renters in the city was announced. Dan and Jennifer Gilbert have setup the Detroit Eviction Defense Fund.
"Over the next three years the Detroit Eviction Defense Fund will be investing up to $13 million to provide legal representation for low-income Detroit renters at risk of eviction," Jennifer Gilbert added. "$12 million of that will be directly invested into our partners at the United Community Housing Coalition, Lake Shore Legal Aid and Michigan Legal Services."
This funding will enable the right to council ordinance to take shape by directly funding legal representation for low-income renters. Ashley Lowe of Lakeshore Legal Aid said it was a huge moment. "Nationally 93 percent of represented tenants stay in their homes and closer to home in Michigan Eviction Diversion Program in 2020, 97 percent of tenants who were represented avoided eviction."
A grassroots organization called Detroit Action believes public funding of the Right to Counsel ordinance is needed to protect communities of color, who often face eviction In larger numbers.
Detroit Pistons playing in Paris next season
The Detroit Pistons will play an unprecedented NBA game in the next season when they face off against the Chicago Bulls in a game held in Paris. Tickets for the NBA Paris Game 2023 go on sale at a later date.
The Bulls have played two-preseason games in the city, both in 1997. It will also be the first game for the Pistons in France. They previously played games in London and Mexico City.
The NBA Paris Game 2023 will mark the first NBA game in Europe since 2020 and the league’s 12th game in France since 1991. The NBA Paris Game 2020 – the first regular-season NBA game in Paris – took place Jan. 24, 2020, and featured the Charlotte Hornets and the Milwaukee Bucks
"The Detroit Pistons organization is excited to take on the Chicago Bulls and play our first-ever game in France. Playing a regular-season game in Paris will be a great experience for our players and coaches and we look forward to showcasing Detroit Basketball to an international audience," said GM Troy Weaver in a statement.
Loved ones mourn teens found shot to death in White Lake trailer park
Two teenagers are found shot and killed at a mobile home park in White Lake Township, while police have two suspects under arrest.
Families and friends are speaking out because they want the memories of their two loved ones Cameron Duckworth, 19, and Drake Mancuso, 16, to live on. The arrests provide little comfort as they begin to process their grief.
Saturday morning the White Lake Township Police Department say they found Cameron and Drake shot dead near a pond in the Cedarbrook Estates mobile home community. Police continue to investigate a motive, while the identities of the suspects haven't been released.
Friends of Cameron and Drake said they were acquaintances with the suspects— we are expecting to learn much more about them when they are charged in the coming days.
What else we're watching
- FEMA is expected to be on the ground of a disaster site in Gaylord after a tornado ripped through the northern Michigan town, killing two people. FOX 2 is sending its new weather beast vehicle to catch footage of the scene Tuesday.
- Could we be seeing the end of Detroit's incinerator? The longtime source of pollution and strife in the city may be coming down in the next few years. A timeline for decommissioning the plant will be announced Tuesday.
- A free spay and neuter clinic is being held May 24-26 at the Lasky Recreation Center in Detroit. It's being hosted by the BISSELL Pet Foundation.
- The pretrial conference for a man accused of shooting the bouncer at a Roseville bar last October is scheduled for Tuesday. Nolan Baca has been charged with second-degree murder.
- The first batch of electric buses have gone into service in Detroit. The city unveiled four of the busses on Monday, as part of a larger plan to electrify the entire fleet.
Live on FOX 2
A cool start Tuesday will morph into a pleasant afternoon with highs near 70 and lots of sun.
Has the cost of Disney World become unaffordable for the average American family?
Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, has been a go-to destination for generations of American families, but the skyrocketing costs of admission, accommodations, and even spending inside the park are leaving many visitors wondering if a Disney vacation is now only reserved for the rich.
A family of four from New Jersey reached out to FOX News Digital after taking a recent trip to Disney World, saying they had sticker shock over what they spent on their visit and noticed changes at the park from times past.
Gone is the Magical Express that previously served as a courtesy shuttle, so the family shelled out $200 for private transportation to get to and from the airport.
Park hopper tickets cost $2,550 for the five days they attended. Their four nights of lodging inside the resort cost $3,780 for the parents and two kids.
Once inside the park, they spent $300 on Genie plus passes for their entire trip to skip lines in order to avoid spending all their time waiting for rides. The parents said they paid $950 on sit-down meals and another $700 or so for snacks and souvenirs. All told, the cost of the visit rounded out to $8,480, and airfare pushed the price of their vacation upwards of $10,000.