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Where gubernatorial candidates stand as signature deadline nears

February 8, 2018
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette enters the the Kelley Library for a media conference concerning the investigation into MSU on Jan 27, 2018 at 525 W. Ottawa in Lansing.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette enters the the Kelley Library for a media conference concerning the investigation into MSU on Jan 27, 2018 at 525 W. Ottawa in Lansing. —
Photo by Sylvia Jarrus | The State News

The deadline to file required signatures for gubernatorial candidates is April 24. 

While some in the running haven’t yet met the threshold of necessary signatures, one Republican candidate already turned his in. Jim Hines is the first one who turned in the required signatures, according to a press release. 

Hines’ signatures totaled around 22,000, campaign spokesperson David Doyle said.

Candidates for Michigan’s governor must file between 15,000 and 30,000 signatures to make the Aug. 6 primary ballot. From there, 100 signatures each must come from at least seven of Michigan’s 14 congressional districts. 

Hines’ collection process spanned throughout a couple of months, Doyle said. Signature collectors for the campaign included a few volunteers, but mostly consisted of a paid circulator group. 

Hines’ support came from areas scattered throughout Michigan’s districts, Doyle said.

“As you would expect, the Detroit area, the Grand Rapids area and the Saginaw area were the big geographical areas,” Doyle said. 

Democratic candidate Shri Thanedar plans to turn in his signatures the first week of March, and is “more than halfway there,” according to a press release. 

Thanedar’s recent campaign activities focused on connecting with voters. 

Thanedar attended the Women’s March in Lansing on Jan. 21, held Facebook live sessions and visited Democratic clubs to get the campaign message out, he said. 

Calling voters and knocking on doors has also been a large part of the campaign so far. 

Thanedar is also the first candidate to advertise on TV this election season, he said. 

Broadcasts of Thanedar’s advertisements began on Dec. 12, 2017, and hold the record for earliest advertisements in gubernatorial history. Advertisements for the campaign also appeared during the Super Bowl in February in Michigan, Thanedar said. 


  • Democratic candidate Abdul El-Sayed has yet to turn in signatures, but has collected “well beyond” the required number through an all-volunteer collection operation, campaign communications director Adam Joseph wrote in an email. El-Sayed began collection Feb. 25, 2016, the day he announced his candidacy.
  • Lt. Gov. Brian Calley announced his Republican candidacy later, Nov. 28, 2017, giving the campaign less collection time, according to a press release. However, Calley’s campaign is “on target to easily surpass the number of required signatures,” campaign spokesperson Mike Schrimpf said in a press release. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has not announced his filing date for his signatures or released his current numbers, according to a press release.
  • Senator Patrick Colbeck’s campaign turned in more than 18,000 signatures to the Bureau of Elections on Jan. 18 through an all-volunteer campaign, according to a press release. The campaign estimated around 500 volunteers put in more than 3,000 hours of work collecting signatures. 
  • Democrat Bill Cobbs is nearing the minimum requirement through an all-volunteer effort, and expects to file in mid-February, he said in a press release. 
  • Democrat Gretchen Whitmer's campaign has collected over 20,000 valid signatures through a grassroots network, campaign spokesperson Eileen Belden said in a statement. “We plan to submit 30,000 valid signatures to the Secretary of State before the filing deadline, which is the maximum allowed by law and double the minimum required amount," Belden said. 


Although Michigan’s primary election is months away, gubernatorial candidates remain active in campaigning their platforms. 

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“(Hines) is doing a lot of traveling around the state, speaking to a lot of folks,” Doyle said. “It’s going to be a long campaign, he’s going to be campaigning in every part of the state, and working to get his message out.”

In the next few months, Thanedar hopes to reach out to voters, rather than focusing on fundraising like many other candidates, he said. 

“Because we are fortunate to be able to self-fund, I can use the time to be in front of people,” Thanedar said. “I’m able to study issues, learn, form policies. … We are really transparent, we talk a lot about our issues and where we stand, so the voters should have no difficulty understanding where we stand.” 


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