Two more Republican candidates for Michigan governor file petition signatures

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Lansing — Ralph Rebandt, a pastor from Oakland County, and Michael Brown, a Michigan State Police captain from Stevensville, filed petition signatures Tuesday in hopes of getting on the August primary ballot as Republican candidates for governor.

Rebandt and Brown became the third and fourth GOP gubernatorial hopefuls to submit their petitions, a key achievement for their campaigns, a week before the April 19 deadline.

Other candidates, including former Detroit police Chief James Craig and conservative commentator Tudor Dixon of Norton Shores, are expected to submit their paperwork in the coming days. It remains unclear how many of the 12 Republicans currently seeking the GOP nomination to challenge Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in November will make the ballot.

Republican Michael Brown, a candidate for governor, submits his petition signatures in Lansing on Tuesday, April 12, 2022.

"I am just confident (about) where my campaign is going," Brown said, standing outside the Michigan Department of State office in downtown Lansing. "I do think there are some real struggles out there with other campaigns."

It takes 15,000 valid signatures to get on the GOP primary ballot. The petitions will be examined by state employees and, likely, other campaigns. By May 31, the Board of State Canvassers must complete a canvass of the petitions.

Brown said he submitted 21,800 signatures and was "100%" confident he had met the threshold. His campaign is focused on prosperity and safety for Michigan residents, he said.

"We need an accomplished leader to lead this party into the future," Brown said. "That's what my campaign is about."

Known as "Captain Mike," he's served 34 years in the Michigan State Police, currently running the agency's Southwest District.

Rebandt's campaign said it submitted 16,300 signatures on Tuesday but plans to file more signatures before the April 19 deadline. He served as the pastor of Oakland Hills Community Church for 35 years. It has a congregation of about 250 people.

Republican Ralph Rebandt poses with his petition signatures insider a Michigan Department of State office on Tuesday, April 12, 2022.

Rebandt said he wants to "make Michigan a lighthouse to the nation."

"We want to bring back sanity to our state by promoting truth, transparency and accountability," he said.

Rebandt's campaign has sponsored billboards that are currently posted in what he described as "strategic" areas of Michigan. One of them is a memo to Whitmer and Democratic President Joe Biden.

"Dear Gretchen and Joe, don't worry about the roads anymore because we can't afford to drive," Rebandt said of the billboard's message.

Garrett Soldano, a chiropractor by trade who became a political activist challenging Whitmer's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, was the first GOP gubernatorial candidate to submit petition signatures for 2022 on Jan. 19. He filed just over 20,000 signatures, according to state records.

Michael Markey, a financial adviser and self-described "moderate," turned in nearly 22,000 signatures on March 18.