This weird, weird race for guv

Just when you thought it could not get any wackier, the GOP primary race for governor did just that.

Item: Ultra-conservative candidate Ryan Kelley (no relation to Frank) was arrested by the FBI.

Item: Candidate James Craig announces a write-in campaign.

Item: Candidate Perry Johnson convinces a federal court to take his case to get on the August ballot.

Item: Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is sitting back and thinking things could not be any better, given all the upheaval in this Republican race for governor. The more the Republicans are grappling with all this drama, they are spending less time and money on actually trying to lay the foundation for her defeat in November.

Where to begin?

How about at the Allendale home of one Ryan Kelley. He, his wife, and six kids awoke to an FBI raid to arrest him on four counts of alleged illegal conduct during the Jan. 6, 2021 event in and around the nation’s Capitol building.

He confirms he was in the crowd. He asserts he did nothing wrong and the arrest amounts to making him a “political prisoner.”

The feds think otherwise, as they hauled him into court on the four misdemeanor charges that included allegedly damaging U.S. government property on the Capitol grounds and trying to disrupt the “orderly conduct of the government” which, on that day, was to certify the election of Joe Biden.

The merits of the case will be fought out in the courts, but the jury is already back on the political impact of all this on his campaign to be governor.

“It’s all good” seems to be the consensus in this town and in the Kelley camp, as well.

“My support has gone up a thousand-fold,” he joyfully tells anyone who is listening and watching.

No shocker there.

If you ponder the number of citizens who are anti-government, think the election was swiped, and think the FBI is just one sandwich away from a domestic terrorist cell itself, why wouldn’t folks flock to the “martyr” who was targeted for prosecution?

Clearly, he will get more votes than he would have received prior to the arrest, but the ultimate question is: Is it enough to win him the nomination or merely reduce him to playing the spoiler by siphoning off votes from one of the other four contenders still in the race?

Meanwhile, still trying to bet back in the race are Craig and Johnson, both earlier unceremoniously booted from the ballot for failure to file enough legal signatures to get on the ballot.

Craig is asking voters to write him in for the governor’s job.

Can you say “mission impossible”?

If he can pull that off, it would stun the political world, to say the least.

Johnson, at this read on June 11, still has a fighting chance, as a federal judge actually held a hearing on his assertion that he should be on the ballot. And, if that judge finds merit in his pleading, the whole election could be tossed on its ear, with even a new election date being one of the possible remedies.

So dust off your trusty thesaurus and look up “incredible,” and then put all those synonyms right here to end this column on what else could go wrong for the state GOP.


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