ALLENDALE, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – With no endorsement made for Tudor Dixon and a refusal to concede defeat, former Michigan Republican gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelley has a plethora of frustrated supporters who are not supportive of Dixon and looking for a way to get him on the ballot.
Kelley, who finished fourth in the governor’s race in the Republican primary, did not appear at Dixon’s unity lunch after her victory and he has called for a “publicly supervised hand recount” in the name of “election integrity.”
Given Kelley’s refusal to back Dixon for governor, Kelley supporters have taken to the internet with discussions on how to keep Kelley front and center in the governor’s race. They have been talking about a write-in candidacy against both Dixon and Whitmer or pitching him as the Lieutenant Governor candidate.
Although there appears to be no coordinated online effort to go to the MIGOP August Nominating Convention and push for Kelley to be a Lieutenant Governor nominee, some of his supporters are pledging not to support Dixon unless she chooses Kelley as a running mate.
Michelle Ralph echoes Kelley’s statements during the primary that Dixon is an establishment candidate and she has chosen not to support her unless she chooses Kelley as her running mate. Ralph said, “The only and I mean the only way I will get behind Dixon is if she chooses Kelley to be her L.G. and if he wants to take the position. Electing her would be the same as Whitmer. She is a puppet.”
Peter Vandyken says, “I’m not happy with Tudor being the nominee and I agree we need a grassroots Lieutenant on the ticket to have a chance.”
Bill Domina says to Kelley, “I am a voting delegate and you would have my vote!”
With all the chatter on Kelley’s social media sites about keeping Kelley in the gubernatorial race somehow, Michigan News Source contacted him and asked about his supporter’s plans to pitch him as Dixon’s Lieutenant Governor or as a write-in candidate.
He gave a brief answer saying, “I’ve heard that from many people.”
He doesn’t appear to be interested, though. On his campaign Facebook page he says, “Many people asking me if I would accept a nomination for MI GOP Chair. Yes, I would consider it but that is not a solid yes or acceptance of nomination. Lt. Gov is not of interest.”
He also says the same thing on his TikTok site. When asked if there was any chance of him being Lieutenant Governor, he says, “not the right direction for me to go.”
When asked about being a write-in candidate, he said it was a waste of time.
However, his future seems undecided for now with his closing remarks in his communications with Michigan News Source being, “guess we will see how things turn out. Lots of options available” and “not discussing future decisions at this point.”
Kelley’s website has been cleared and there is currently only a landing page which says, “Thank you to all of our supporters, we have done amazing things together these last few years and we are not done yet. I appreciate your dedication, your courage, and your love for America and I know that many of you are disappointed. Know that our fight is not over. In the very near future, we will let you know where we go from here. Until then, keep fighting!”
The MIGOP August Nominating Convention is on Saturday, August 27th and Dixon has to have her lieutenant governor nominee choice in to the party by 5 pm on Friday, August 19th. At the convention, it would be difficult for someone other than Dixon’s nominee to make it on the ballot as her running mate.
The convention rules say that if the submitted Lieutenant Governor candidate doesn’t receive an affirmative vote from the convention floor, then the candidate for Governor (Dixon), can address the convention for three minutes, resubmit the same candidate for reconsideration or submit a new candidate.
If the second nomination does not receive an affirmative vote, the nominations may be submitted from the floor including one by the gubernatorial candidate and a vote will be taken.
At this point, the convention candidate receiving a majority of the total votes shall be declared elected by the convention.
In order to force Kelley to be considered for the Lieutenant Governor position, the precinct delegates who will be voting at the convention would have to get together in a coordinated effort to reject Dixon’s pick as candidate – and then approve the new one submitted for a vote.
Currently, there are several names floating around as Dixon’s choice for Lieutenant Governor including former Congressman Mike Bishop and former NBA player Willie Burton, with no final decision being made yet.
With no endorsement of Dixon forthcoming and Kelley not conceding the election until there is a “full, independent, unfettered forensic audits of 2020 and 2022”, it remains to be seen if Kelley’s 165,302 primary voters will vote for Dixon in November without Kelley’s encouragement to do so – or will they pursue other options?