Lansing — Republican gubernatorial hopeful Jim Hines on Monday became the first candidate in the race to submit signatures required to make Michigan’s 2018 primary ballot.

The Saginaw obstetrician drove his “Hines mobile” recreational vehicle to the Secretary of State’s Office in downtown Lansing to drop off partisan nominating petitions containing 22,575 signatures.

Candidates seeking the Republican, Democratic or Libertarian party nominations for governor must submit at least 15,000 valid signatures by April 24, 2018, to qualify for the August primaries.

Hines remains a relative unknown in the statewide race but has been touting his outsider status as he prepares for a GOP primary likely to feature big names such as Attorney General Bill Schuette of Midland and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley of Portland.

“They’re great guys,” Hines told reporters. “I’ve met them. They have a long political history. ... As I travel the state, I’m finding there’s a lot of interest for someone who does not have a long political history and that wants to put people first.”

Hines said he was motivated to run for governor because he wants to use his skill set for a greater good, while others in the race may be “looking for their next job because they’re term limited.”

Schuette and Calley cannot seek election to their current posts because of Michigan’s voter-approved term limits law, which also prevents Republican Gov. Rick Snyder for running again. Second-term state Sen. Pat Colbeck of Canton announced this month he is seeking the GOP nomination.

Democrats vying to replace Snyder include former state Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer of East Lansing, former Detroit health department director Abdul El-Sayed, Ann Arbor businessman Shri Thanedar and former Xerox executive Bill Cobbs of Farmington Hills.

Ann Arbor Attorney Mark Bernstein is also laying the groundwork for a potential run in the Democratic primary, and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said he is considering it.

Hines called himself a fiscal and social conservative. He has been married 42 years and has seven sons. He told reporters he’s a missionary, a pilot, a hunter, a fourth-degree black belt and president of the Christian Medical and Dental Associations.

“One of the things I’m not, is I’m not a politician,” he said.

Read or Share this story: