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Michigan GOP candidate won't quit race after false signature accusations

May 24 (UPI) -- Former Detroit police Chief James Craig on Tuesday called on Michigan's attorney general to investigate after the state's election bureau found his gubernatorial campaign submitted false petition signatures.

Craig, who was considered one of the frontrunners for the Republican nomination, said Tuesday he would not quit the race, despite the findings released Monday.

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"I do believe this was a well-planned and orchestrated effort to get me off the ballot," Craig told the Detroit Free Press.

"I'm being robbed of the opportunity to be on the ballot and let Michigan voters decide who should represent the GOP."

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Craig, along with four other Republican candidates, may face disqualification from the race for not having submitted the minimum required amount of signatures.

Craig, Perry Johnson, Michael Markey, Michael Brown and Donna Brandenburg were all running for the right to run against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The Michigan primary is scheduled for Aug. 2.

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The report issued Monday contends at least 68,000 invalid signatures were submitted across at least 10 petition drives.

"During standard petition review, staff identified the same circulators in several sets of petitions for which at least 2,000 signatures were required to appear on the ballot, including candidates for governor, circuit judge, and district judge," the report reads.

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"In several instances, the number of invalid signatures submitted by these circulators was the reason a candidate had an insufficient number of valid signatures. In other instances, while invalid signatures were identified in the candidate's filing, the number was insufficient to move the number of signatures below the threshold for ballot qualification."

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According to the report, 10,192 of the signatures submitted by Craig's campaign appear to be valid.

To qualify to run for election, candidates need to collect 15,000 signatures from across the state.

Craig, who is also the former police chief of Cincinnati, said he hopes the state's attorney general, Dana Nessel, will investigate because fraud should not be a partisan issue.

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