(Source: MIRS.news, Published 04/19/2022) Verbal fireworks exploded in the Bureau of Elections shortly before Thursday's 4 p.m. candidate filing deadline when a state Senate candidate and another candidate's staffer traded repeated insults toward each other.
The day inside the Bureau of Elections had been calm – though busy -- until shortly after “Trucker” Randy BISHOP walked in a little before 3:30 p.m. He filed to run as a Democrat in the 37th State Senate District, which includes counties in northern Michigan and part of the U.P
He was accompanied by John Clore, who is putting together Bishop’s campaign website. Clore had been with the outlet “Us Against Media,” until recently. Clore said it disbanded when it ran out of “savings.”
Mellissa Carone, disqualified from running for the House due to campaign finance filing issues, arrived shortly after to file for the Senate seat in District 11. Carone is best known as being Rudy Giuliani's star witness in the House Oversight Committee's hearing on allegations of widespread voter fraud in Wayne County, but has since been active in grassroots conservative politics.
Clore was hanging out near the security check-in booth. The minute Carone spotted him, she lit into him, asking him what he was doing there. She called him a convicted felon and told security that he was dangerous and a woman abuser, and they should ask him to leave the building.
Clore seemed to be enjoying the fight as he responded by calling her “crazy” and a failure for the disqualification. But Carone had quick comebacks for anything Clore said.
When Carone finished filing, the fight started right back up again. The animosity between the two is not new, Carone said. She also said she wouldn’t leave the building while Bishop and Clore stood on the steps talking. However, she did walk out shortly thereafter. As she walked past him, Clore gave her the side-eye until she was out of his sight.
The episode punctuated a busy day of candidate filings, on which the Bureau of Elections prepared for with a table outside its Austin Building offices, ample staff and appointment times to prevent long lines.
Some came in suits. Some were well-heeled. Others wore sneakers. A few showed up in typical comfort garb: jeans and sweatshirts. But they all seemed hopeful to win their election, whether for the Senate or the House, a judicial seat on a circuit court or a county commissioner position.
Kathleen Feeney is the current Kent County Circuit Court’s Chief Judge Pro Tem. She was first in the door at 9 a.m. sharp.
Feeney, who brought in almost 8,400 signatures, had an appointment. She said this was only the second time the Board of Election had set up appointments and thought it was great. She has been on the bench for 22 years and is hoping to fill the seat of retiring Judge David Sawyer at the Michigan Court of Appeals for the Third District.
Tudor DIXON, one of the many Republican gubernatorial candidates strolled in at 9:55 a.m. with her entourage lugging boxes of signatures behind her as she got ready to make her candidacy official.
Her plans for raising her profile are to keep talking to the media and come out with ads closer to the primary, sometime during the summer months, she said.
Democrat Bart Goldberg filed to run for the 5th State House district at 10:13 a.m. Goldberg is an attorney who has run for office before, he said. He acknowledged that as a moderate Democrat he has an uphill slog ahead of him.
“I feel that our democracy is in peril,” he said. “The two sides cannot speak the same, and I’m going to do everything I can to try and bridge that divide.”
Other candidates for judgeships arrived back-to-back through the 10 a.m. hour, such as Torchio FEASTER at 10:17 a.m. who is running for Washington County 14A district court judge. He was excited and ready for the opportunity. “It’s going to be a fun race,” he said.
Attorney Diana McClain completed the process at 10:18 p.m. McClain is running for the 45th District Court, which covers Oak Park, Huntington Woods, Pleasant Ridge and Royal Oak Township. She didn’t know if she had any competition, and if not, she would move on to the general election without a fight and run against the incumbent, Judge Michelle Friedman APPEL, she said.
But McClain does have other competition. Brenda RICHARD showed up at 11:32 a.m. to file to run for the 45th District Court. Richard said she suspected she had three opponents.
As McClain left the building, Court of Appeals hopeful Michael WARREN finished up at 10:26 a.m. Warren is an Oakland County Circuit Court judge. With his 19 years on the bench, he is hoping to beat out the incumbent, who was appointed by Governor Gretchen WHITMER in February. She must run for retention election in November, Warren said.
Becket JONES, an attorney for the past 11 years, filed for the Eighth District Court judicial office in Kalamazoo. He said he believes there will be two other candidates in the race and told MIRS that most non-incumbent candidates for judicial office do not have judicial experience.
A candidate for the Third Circuit Court in Wayne County dropped off her filing at 11:07 a.m. Regina TRIPLETT said she has a good shot because she thought only three other candidates had filed and there are five seats coming available due to retirements across the board.
At 11:08 a.m., Paul Taros, a Republican running for the House seat in District 5, stopped by to “pay the check” as he didn’t submit any signatures. He said there was one Republican who already filed and thought he was running against five Democrats.
Amanda J. Shelton rode Taros’ coattails as she stepped out of the SOS offices at 11:19 a.m. after dropping off supplemental signatures, which brought her total up to 5,500. She’s running against one opponent for Oakland County Circuit Court judge and has been vigorously campaigning for months now.
“We’re excited,” Shelton said. “We’ve got good momentum. We’ve got great endorsements. And we’ve talked to thousands of people.”
Kelsey Heck Wood is ready for her senate race in District 14. She filed as a Democrat at 11:58 a.m. She got her signatures in and said she was all set to campaign against the two other Democrats and one Republican candidate.
As the clock struck noon, Donna Brandenburg, Republican gubernatorial candidate, stepped in the building to drop off her supplementals. She said the filing process was being carried out “in an organized, lawful and professional manner.
“It’s an honor to be in this race with so many candidates,” she said. But wouldn’t commit to hazarding a guess at why there are so many candidates this cycle.
The revolving door slowed down during the first half of the noon hour, a welcome reprieve for the busy Board of Election staffers, members of security and an “executive floor” staffer who was able to take her lunch break.
Scott PRICE, a Republican running for the Senate seat in District 15, dropped off his supplemental signatures at 12:33 p.m. He said the platform and main policy issues for his campaign are still to be determined.
Gubernatorial candidate Ralph Rebandt (R), left the building with his wife Carol REBANDT at 1:05 p.m. He said he is hoping to “light things up” by using humor.
He went to Grand Rapids to see if he could provide police support during the protests after the police shooting of Patrick Lyoya. He ended up praying with some pastors from the area.
Carol Rebandt said she’s known her husband since the seventh grade and she’s “never met a man with more integrity in my life.”
Andrew Arendoski is running as a Republican in the 66th House District. He also chose to “pay the bill” at 1:27 p.m. instead of gathering signatures. “It’s a nice thing to be able to do,” he said. He didn’t know how many other candidates there are, but said it was more than two.
Gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelley (R) dropped off his additional supplementals at 1:39 p.m.
“We collected all of our signatures without buying any of them, and I was able to probably shake about half of the people’s hands that signed my petition,” he said. That’s roughly 10,000 hands when his signature count of approximately 20,200 is divided in two.
He said he’s ready to continue to do what he’s been doing, and that’s to “stand up for our country and our freedom.” A few minutes after Kelley left, the final gubernatorial candidate to file, Perry Johnson (R) arrived with John YOB, his political strategy consultant, and several staffers carrying boxes of signatures numbering around 23,000.
On the steps in front of the building, he thanked the petitioners who signed to support his campaign. “We’re soaring in the polls,” the self-described “quality guru” said. “I think part of the reason is that we want to bring quality to Michigan.”
Yob teased a couple big endorsements that will be announced on the day of the Missaukee County Republicans Lincoln Day Dinner on May 17, which Johnson plans to attend.