Fresh off of his arrest for his participation in the January 6th insurrection, Ryan Kelley is leading the pack for the Republican nomination for Michigan governor.
That’s according to a poll commissioned by WLNS-TV and media partners across the state.
According to a poll of 400 likely voters in the Republican primary, Kelley led the five eligible candidates with 17% of those who expressed a preference.
Garrett Soldano finished second with 13%.
Kevin Rinke finished third with 12%
Tudor Dixon finished fourth with 5%.
Ralph Rebandt finished fifth with 1%.
Seven percent volunteered to the poll take that they’d write in a candidate. That could suggest a show of support for candidate James Craig. The former Detroit police chief and one-time self-proclaimed front runner was removed from the ballot after election officials invalidated thousands of signatures he turned in to make the ballot, leaving him short of the number he needed to qualify for the race.
Craig announced last Thursday night that he would run as a write-in candidate. He filed the paperwork to do that on Tuesday.
The poll started on Friday, the day after Ryan Kelley was arrested and charged with four misdemeanors for his participation in the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, by people who sought to overturn the outcome of the presidential election. Many political experts predicted the arrest could actually help Kelley’s candidacy – at least in the Republican primary – by helping him get name recognition and identifying him as a strong support of former President Donald Trump. Trump has not endorsed anyone in the race.
“I think that’s an advantage for him. I think that has given him a boost,” said EPIC MRA pollster Bernie Porn.
The results are likely a blow to candidate Tudor Dixon, who recently earned the support of the DeVos family – which includes a former candidate for governor in Dick DeVos and a former party chair and Secretary of Education in Betsy DeVos. Dixon also touted the recent endorsement of Right to Life of Michigan.
“That was surprising to me,” said Porn. He said that while the backing of the DeVos family might mean an influx of money, polling on Betsy DeVos shows she not been strong enough to give Dixon a boost on her own.
That said, the race is wide open – as 45% percent of those asked said they were undecided about who to support or refused to say.
“Things are still wide open,” said Porn, “and you’ve only just begun having a race between five candidates.”