Republican Governor hopeful Perry Johnson says quality and numbers will make Michigan great

LANSING, MI — Self-proclaimed “quality guru,” Perry Johnson knows the title may have sounded “crazy” to voters, but he’s serious about raising the standard in Michigan by contributing his industry experience private to the governor’s office.

The Bloomfield Hills millionaire founded an international ISO 9000 training company and has never held public office before. He is now one of 13 Republicans vying for the party’s nomination to challenge Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

“Think about what quality in government will mean,” Johnson told supporters on Wednesday. “That means we have quality schools. It means we have people who will want to come to the state. This means that we have quality decisions. We will now have quality roads.

Johnson hosted the first public event of his fledgling campaign at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Lansing, a few blocks from the state Capitol and the governor’s office. The event brought together several Republican power brokers and lawmakers, including State Representatives Matt Hall, Ryan Berman and Steve Carra. Johnson said he held meetings with several lawmakers on Wednesday.

Standing in front of a backdrop of statistical equations and a TV screen showing a Facebook live stream, Johnson enthusiastically skimmed over his perception of the state’s woes under Whitmer: a mishandled mess of pandemic restrictions and deaths in homes. nursing care, missed unemployment insurance payments, failing schools and crumbling roads.

Johnson said he wasn’t going to condemn Whitmer because “she shut down her state like everyone else,” but because she said she “ignored the statistics.” Whitmer’s business closures have gone on too long and have been widely enforced, Johnson said. In particular, he criticized the closure of garden centers in the spring of 2020 and the temporary closure of fitness studios.

“It was good to open a liquor store because it was essential, you could be six feet away, but we couldn’t have a health studio even though we could be 26 feet away,” Johnson said. .

Johnson said he wanted to incentivize high-performing teachers with pay raises and remove “all barriers” to charter schools.

Johnson closed a roughly 30-minute speech by highlighting his conservative credentials, saying he is pro-life, pro-freedom, pro-Second Amendment and supporter of former President Donald Trump. Like Trump, Johnson said he would donate his taxpayer-funded salary if elected governor.

“I have pretty much everything I can imagine, but I want to give something back,” Johnson said. “I am running for governor to give something back to the state. I’m not going to get a salary. I will give this money. I do not need it.

Johnson answered three questions from reporters before leaving. When asked if he would ban abortions for any reason, including rape, incest and to protect the life of the mother, Johnson simply replied that he was pro-life.

“Two wrongs don’t make a right,” Johnson said. “I am pro-life.”

When asked if he thinks the 2020 election was stolen, which has become something of a litmus test for Republican candidates, Johnson said he’s “going to campaign on quality” to ensure integrity of elections.

Johnson said he would make voter identification mandatory, but did not specify whether he meant requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls. Michigan law currently allows people to show identification or sign an affidavit stating that they are not in possession of photo identification.

“I won’t do anything to suppress the votes,” Johnson said. “I will do everything I can to make voter ID the easiest thing in the world to do.”

Johnson introduced himself to voters in a $1.5 million ad that debuted during the Super Bowl and will run through early March. The ad buy signaled two things: Johnson sees himself as a problem solver and he has the resources to self-fund his campaign. Wednesday’s launch event focused on the former, not mentioning the latter.

He has already announced a $2.5 million loan to match Whitmer’s fundraising in the final quarter of 2021. Johnson did not report fundraising numbers, as his campaign began after the last term. filing, but said other Republicans were failing to muster the financial support needed to compete with Whitmer.

Republican hopeful Kevin Rinke, who owns a family car dealership business, invested $2 million of his own fortune but only raised $4,938 from his supporters. He has pledged to invest up to $10 million.

Michigan Democratic Party spokeswoman Rodericka Applewhaite said the last thing the main area needs is “another self-funded millionaire without the interests of Michiganders in mind.”

“Perry Johnson has already made it clear — by saying it and saying it — that he doesn’t care about the same things the Michiganders do,” Applewhaite said in a statement. “Like every other candidate in the crowded and chaotic primary, Johnson owes answers to Michiganders about his plans to attract good-paying jobs, keep kids in classrooms, improve infrastructure and strengthen our economy.”

Other top competitors spent more money than they raised in the last quarter, a bad sign for any campaign. Former police chief James Craig raised $607,831 and spent $728,733. Kalamazoo chiropractor Garrett Soldano raised $251,747 and spent $410,167. Conservative Norton Shores commentator Tudor Dixon raised $158,115 and spent $227,598.

Johnson used his fortune to support Republican causes. He donated $10,000 to the Michigan Republican Party in April 2021 and gave $63,703 to the Republican National Committee between 2003 and 2019.

Johnson has also financially endorsed the candidacy of several Michigan Republicans, including John James, Carmelita Greco, former U.S. Representative Dave Trott and former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land.

Towards the end of his speech, Johnson answered a few pre-recorded questions presented on a video screen. Former Congressman and U.S. Ambassador Pete Hoekstra, Michigan Republican Party Vice Chairman Marian Sheridan, and Oakland County Republican Party Chairman Rocky Raczkowski presented questions.

Parker Maddock, daughter of MIGOP co-chair Meshawn Maddock, works on Johnson’s team.

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