SHARE

Repub­lican Ryan Kelley said he’s running for gov­ernor because he sees too many self-serving people and not enough who want to do the right thing in the gov­ernment today.

“Too many times you have the people who would probably be great for the job just sitting on the side­lines, running their business, living their life, enjoying the American dream, because they don’t want to deal with getting involved and being beat up a little bit,” Kelley said. 

Kelley, the owner of his own real estate firm from Allendale, is one of more than a dozen can­di­dates who seek the Repub­lican nom­i­nation to take on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the Demo­c­ratic incumbent. The primary is on Aug. 2.

“A lot of prayer went into where to specif­i­cally go,” Kelley said. “God’s number one in my life, as well as my rela­tionship with my wife, and the Lord being the center of our mar­riage. So, lots of prayer, lots of talking between my wife and I, and there was a path that led this direction, so I’m fol­lowing it as long as God keeps opening up those doors.”

Since announcing his can­didacy, Kelley said he has spent time trav­eling around the state learning about people’s expectations.

The top pri­ority for many cit­izens around the state is to end COVID-19 restric­tions, Kelley said. 

“People are over the pan­demic” Kelley said. “We’re done. We’re finished.” 

Kelley said that the slogan “14 days to flatten the curve” was inef­fective with gov­ernment offi­cials seeking to take peoples’ jobs and control where they can par­tic­ipate in society. 

“That’s not hap­pening here in Michigan, but places like New York, Cal­i­fornia, it’s absolutely hap­pening,” Kelley said. “It’s an election year, so Gretchen’s on her best behavior, but if it wasn’t an election year, you best believe a lot of those same restric­tions would be here.”

Day One of Kelley’s First 100 Days Plan involves can­celing all emer­gency orders statewide and elim­i­nating all man­dates and exec­utive orders that have to do with the pandemic.

“If Gretchen weasels her way back into the governor’s seat, expect vaccine man­dates,” Kelley said. “She’ll have another four years to do what she pleases. If somebody wants to wear a mask, they should feel com­fortable doing so not under pro­pa­ganda or coercion, but the fact that they feel they’re pro­tecting themselves.”

Kelley’s other Day One objec­tives are to cancel “Dominion, ES&S, and Hart elec­tronic voting machine con­tracts” with the state of Michigan, according to his website.

“Trav­eling around the state, the number one, top issue that I have heard is election integrity,” Kelley said. “The 2020 election was garbage. It was a fraud­ulent election beyond the scope that we probably could even wrap our heads around.”

Kelley recently appeared in a viral video on Twitter, telling lis­teners to unplug voting machines if they witness fraud.

“If you see some­thing you don’t like with the machines,” Kelley said, “unplug it from the wall.”

Several have taken to Twitter against Kelley, such as radio host and lawyer Qasim Rashid, who called this “ter­rorism.” 

“If you’re working the next election, and you witness fraud and you see some­thing that you don’t like that’s going on with the machines, unplug the machines, take control of the sit­u­ation,” Kelley said. “The left-wing media takes that, made it look like I’m telling random people, ‘After you cast your vote, go over there and unplug the machine or just start walking into precincts and unplug the machine.”

According to Ballotpedia.org, Kelley’s cam­paign has spent $67,180, ranking sixth among his com­petitors. Kelley said this isn’t an issue at all.

“Dick DeVos, in 2006, spent $35 million aiming to defeat Jen­nifer Granholm, who was beatable back in 2006. He lost by 14%,” Kelley said. “For us to think that money is going to be the sole deter­mining factor in this race, and who beats Whitmer, I think we’re setting our­selves up for another 2006.”

With such a crowded field of 14 can­di­dates for the Repub­lican nom­i­nation, Kelley said his history of con­ser­v­ative activism sets him apart.

“The April 30, 2020 rally at the capital, I planned that, I hosted that, the permits for the event were in my name, so very early on I was speaking out against the lock­downs, that was during a stay-at-home order and I’m hosting protests on the steps of the capitol,” Kelley said. “It’s walking the walk, all these other can­di­dates, they’re against this stuff now, but stayed silent during the heat of the moment.”

In June of 2020, Kelley orga­nized a counter-protest in front of a Civil War statue in downtown Allendale to ensure that pro­testers did not forcibly take it down.

“In July of 2020, I was encour­aging the FBI and the DOJ to arrest Whitmer,” Kelley said. “None of the other can­di­dates were walking that kind of walk, they were all silent.”

Citing a recent uptick in state spending, Kelley crit­i­cized Whitmer’s fiscal policies.

“She’s trying to play mod­erate, she’s almost trying to play Repub­lican so that she can win back votes,” Kelley said. “She’s just driving up the price of every­thing all around us.”

In a year where Whitmer’s approval rating has dropped below 50% at times, Kelley said the incumbent is vul­nerable to a chal­lenge and claimed he is the best can­didate to run against her.

“We need someone that’s not going to be fearful to call her out, but be able to com­mu­nicate real, true solu­tions,” Kelley said. “If we think that just going into a debate with her or going into some form of tit-for-tat type thing talking about how bad she is, I don’t think that’s going to cut it. We have to be able to com­mu­nicate and have strong solu­tions and the con­fi­dence of Michigan voters, that whatever those solu­tions are, can be exe­cuted by our next governor.”