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James Craig declares write-in campaign, sues canvassing firm

Russ McNamara / WDET

Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig formally declared his write-in candidacy for the Republican nomination for Michigan governor today.

The former chief has exhausted his legal options to get on the ballot after alleged signature fraud on his nominating petitions cost him a spot.

Speaking to reporters after filing his paperwork at the Austin Building, Craig said he’s aware a write-in campaign will be costly.

“There’s still a possibility that we will generate donors but not to the level. I mean I’m just realistic. I mean given the dynamics of being taken off the ballot and the fact that now it’s a write-in. That is a challenge,” he said.

That means not engaging in large-scale TV ads and other spending that candidates like businessman Kevin Rinke have done.

“A lot of it’s going to have to be on name ID, some people who feel strongly that this vote was taken out of their hands. I’ve heard that quite a bit. And, so, we’re going to continue to market and we’re going to be okay,” Craig said.

Craig also announced Tuesday that he is suing the company he claims was involved in getting him fake signatures.

He said he’s concerned that some of the paid signature gatherers who allegedly committed the fraud work across campaigns.

“How does that happen? And I just don’t know the answer. It certainly doesn’t feel right and so I’m optimistic that this lawsuit is going to open the doors of what really took place,” Craig said.

Named in the complaint, along with several individuals mentioned in a Bureau of Elections staff report detailing the fraud, is the company In Field Strategies, Inc.

Craig claimed that firm was subcontracted by the company he worked with, Vanguard Field Strategies, LLC.

The complaint, filed in Kent County Circuit Court Monday, said In Field had promised a high validity rate on signatures when it agreed to work with Vanguard. It goes on to claim In Field, in turn, subcontracted another company with ties to someone previously convicted of election fraud.

That third company is not listed in the complaint.

Craig, Vanguard, and his campaign are suing for breach of contract, breach of warranty, and common law fraud.

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