We’re through the final full week of February, and we’re certain no one is happier to see the month come to a close than Austin Chenge, who last we checked (which was admittedly a while ago because come on, it’s Austin Chenge) still super hates Black History Month. 

Here’s where the candidates are ahead of next Wednesday, which will mark exactly five months out from the Republican gubernatorial primary.

Perry Johnson Gave His Kickoff Speech. It Was…Something.

The top event of the week was none other than Perry Johnson’s campaign kickoff event Wednesday night in Lansing. It had everything. A livestream ticker with rather unsavory comments about how annoyed or bored viewers were (especially once Soldano supporters descended on it), running behind Johnson for all to see during his winding, rambling speech. Screaming. Divorce threats. Bold-face lies fact-checked in real time by Michigan reporters. Concessions that his own ‘quality guru’ tagline “sound[ed] nutty.” Unsettling get-rich-quick motivational speaker vibes. Flexes to his fabulous wealth. “Five or six pre-recorded softball” questions and only three taken from Michigan reporters, per MIRS. 

On the matter of substance for the “silver-spoon elitist trying to run our government…[with] millions to burn or favors to sell to special interests” (Soldano’s words in one of his latest fundraising emails, not ours), Johnson opened the veil a little.

First, he dodged the major litmus test question of if he believes the 2020 general election was legitimate, but not before using “misinformation about the election as justification for why he would support voter ID mandates.” Then Johnson offered a much more clear answer on his extreme anti-choice stance, declaring that he was pro-life and would not make exceptions for rape or incest because “two wrongs don’t make a right.” He also argued that Michigan should remove “all barriers” to implementing a charter school system at the expense of public education. 

With answers like these, Johnson may not be interested in what ordinary Michiganders are, but he’s exactly where the rest of the GOP field is.

James Craig Dragged Every State Trooper in Michigan, Then Tried to Play Us 

James Craig had the worst week of his campaign…again. Congratulations are in order to fellow Republican gubernatorial candidate and Michigan State Police Captain Mike Brown who blew the whistle after Craig quite literally came for his whole career.

Craig, who in February 2022 is apparently still extremely salty about his disastrous campaign reboot week all the way back in September 2021, penned a fundraising letter saying that he thinks MSP troopers are a bunch of “weak-kneed…underlings” who “abandon[ed] their jobs” to operate as cronies. 

Brown let Craig have it in a response that called on him to drop out of the race and issue an apology to every state trooper. His quote, nearly in full because it’s good and hey, we love mess and a little righteous indignation: 

“This is truly despicable. Denigrating the men and women in law enforcement to score political points is wrong. James Craig may as well march with the defund the police crowd. That’s the type of disdain he is showing our officers. […] James Craig is throwing the men and women of law enforcement under the bus to further his own political dreams. […] James Craig has shown he is not qualified to lead this state.”

Fuego! However the real kicker was Brown coming for retiree Craig’s metaphorical gun and badge, pointing out that he was “not a real cop” because he “never did receive his certification to be a police officer in Michigan” while DPD chief. Fact-check: 100% true for all eight years he led DPD, and during his time leading Cincinnati’s PD as well.

But folks, we’ve seen this movie. Craig gets confronted with a damning revelation about his record or his campaign (his broken promise to become a certified officer, the fact he fled the scene of a carjacking, the plum board positions he’s accepted while being a candidate for governor, etc). He scrambles. Then, it eventually gets papered over with a half-baked lie either straight from the Detroit Dodger himself or through an equally flat-footed spokesperson.

This time, all hands were on deck. Despite the letter in question bearing Craig’s signature, sporting language detailing it was paid for by the campaign, and directing donations to his campaign’s PO box, his spokesperson couldn’t land the plane, as he “did not say Tuesday the letter is a forgery, or that it was not sent on behalf of the campaign, [and] …would not respond when asked if he was saying the letter was a fake.”

Scoreboard: Mike Brown – 1; James Craig – negative 2,933. The number of people employed by MSP as of 2017. That’s a lot of apologies.

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