OXON HILL, Md. (AP) — Republican businessman Perry Johnson has announced his long-shot bid for president.
Johnson, who tried to run for Michigan governor last year but was deemed by the state’s elections bureau to have filed thousands of fraudulent nominating signatures, announced his White House candidacy to a group of supporters on Thursday night, his campaign said. Hours earlier, he had spoken at the opening day of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference just outside Washington, D.C.
Johnson did not directly mention his presidential campaign when he spoke at the CPAC gathering in Oxon Hill, Maryland, where a handful of other candidates and potential contenders including former President Donald Trump are slated to speak Friday and Saturday.
Johnson spent money earlier this year to run an ad during the Super Bowl targeting voters in Iowa, the first state to vote on the GOP presidential field, touting his plan to cut federal spending by 2% every year.
The businessman earned a fortune starting Michigan-based Perry Johnson Registrars Inc., which certifies if businesses are meeting industrial standards. He was considered a top 2022 GOP candidate for Michigan governor before he and four other Republican hopefuls were disqualified because of invalid signatures.
Staffers at the state elections bureau said that Johnson turned in 13,800 valid signatures but that they tossed 9,393, including 6,983 they said were fraudulent. Johnson, who was willing to spend millions of dollars on his campaign for the governor’s office, said his rights were violated during the process.