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Five Michigan GOP candidates for governor disqualified by state board

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The five Republican candidates who have been disqualified, from left: James Craig, Perry Johnson, Mike Brown (Brown has withdrawn from the race), Donna Brandenburg, Michael Markey.

Five Republicans have been booted from the state’s August gubernatorial primary.

That’s after a state board deadlocked on the question of whether they qualified, despite thousands of forged and otherwise invalid petition signatures.

It takes a bipartisan majority on the Board of State Canvassers for candidates to qualify. Democrats said it’s up to candidates to make sure their petitions are in order and that signature collectors have abided by the rules.

Tony Daunt is a Republican on the board. He says this level of petition fraud is unprecedented.

“Without question, a widespread and disgraceful effort to defraud the voters of the state has occurred. Those who engaged in this effort deserve the full weight of the law to come down on them.”

Norm Shinkle is a Republican on the board.

“These people should all go to prison, the circulators that defrauded the candidates, and defrauding us. I’m not prepared to shift any burden to the candidates today myself.”

Democrats said the signature requirement is not a moving target and the candidates simply failed to meet it.

But Daunt says candidates are victims here. At least one candidate, former Detroit Police Chief James Craig, says he will go to court to get his name on the August primary ballot.

Original Post, 2:46 p.m.:

A state board has disqualified five Republican candidates for governor from the August primary ballot due to forged and otherwise invalid signatures.

The Board of State Canvassers deadlocked on each candidate.

That means the candidates will have to go to court if they want to get on the ballot. One candidate, state Police Captain Mike Brown, has already dropped out.

The disqualified candidates are former Detroit Police Chief James Craig, Perry Johnson, Donna Brandenburg, and Michael Markey.

Republicans who will appear on the ballot are chiropractor Garrett Soldano, businessman Kevin Rinke, real estate broker Ryan Kelley, minister Ralph Rebandt, and businessperson Tudor Dixon.