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Federal judge asked to reconsider ruling on deadline to file for Michigan's August primary

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

Michigan’s Attorney General is asking a federal judge to reconsider a rulingthat extended the state’s filing deadline for the August primary. 

The judge issueda ruling Sunday night that found the state’s stay home order prevented Republican congressional candidate Eric Esshaki from collecting enough signatures to qualify for the primary.  

U.S. District Judge Terrence Berg ruled that the state should extend the filing deadline for Esshaki and other affected candidates until May 8 and accept filings with only 50% of the required signatures.  

But Tuesday, candidate Eric Esshaki filed enough signatures to qualify, as well as doing so by the original April 21 deadline.

In its emergency motion, the Attorney General’s office noted Esshaki “met the very requirements from which he sought relief from this Court.”

Esshaki says, when Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed her “Stay Home” order on March 23, his campaign had collected only 700 of the 1,000 signatures that he needed to qualify for the August primary ballot. But he says his legal fight attracted more support and signatures. Esshaki says that added support helped him collect the 1,200 signatures he submitted on Tuesday. 

Esshaki says the AG’s office is playing politics with its legal filings.

“My court win wasn’t just for me. It was for the Constitution,” says Esshaki. “But this is what big government does. They seek out the little guy to punish them.”

The ruling included candidates for federal office, as well as Wayne County Community College Trustee, all Judicial Offices (only for candidates who are not the current incumbents) and any city office where the city charter does not allow the option to file with a fee.

For all other offices, the filing deadline remained April 21.

The state has also appealed the ruling to the circuit court. 

A hearing on the state motion is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday morning. 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.