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President Perry Johnson? Michigan businessman launches long-shot campaign

perry johnson
Perry Johnson has filed paperwork to campaign for president of the United States. (Bridge photo by Jonathan Oosting)
  • Perry Johnson files paperwork to run for president
  • Republican businessman ran for governor in 2022, didn’t make ballot because of a signature scandal
  • Johnson will run presidential Super Bowl ad in Iowa

LANSING — Michigan businessman Perry Johnson is filing paperwork to run for president of the United States, he announced Thursday ahead of a Super Bowl ad to air in Iowa. 

Johnson, 75, has never held elected office and will join a 2024 Republican field that includes former President Donald Trump and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley.


Perry ran for governor last year in Michigan and isn’t well-known outside the state. His upcoming Super Bowl TV ad on Sunday will be the first of its kind by an announced presidential candidate this cycle, according to Medium Buying, a firm that tracks political spending across the country. 


Johson's campaign confirmed he is spending $192,000 to air the ad in markets across Iowa, which is scheduled to remain an early primary state for the GOP even though Democrats recently voted to move it further back in the year. 

"The Democrats gave Iowa the middle finger, but we are going to give Iowa the respect and attention it deserves in its historic role as the lead-off state for our Republican Party," Johnson said in a statement announcing filing of his presidential campaign paperwork.

The Bloomfield Hills businessman argued that "fat cats" like President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, both Democrats, have “recklessly borrowed and wasted trillions of dollars.”

"My message is very simple: every penny the Federal Government is borrowing is making it harder and more expensive for us to live,” he said. 

Johnson's upcoming Super Bowl ad will be his second in as many years. He used last year's game to launch an abbreviated gubernatorial campaign with an ad that introduced him to voters as a "quality guru" who helped popularize industry certification standards. 

Johnson spent more than $7 million of his own money on the gubernatorial campaign but never qualified for the ballot. 

State officials disqualified him and four other GOP gubernatorial candidates after determining that paid circulators had forged voter signatures on required nominating petitions. 

Trump, who lost Michigan by 154,188 votes in 2020, will loom large over next year's Republican presidential primary.

In announcing his plans for a long-shot presidential campaign, Johnson said he voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020 and could "very easily" do so again next year. 

"If we’re being candid, however, the politicians of both political parties have failed to provide adequate solutions to the most pressing problem facing our country: runaway spending and the inflation that came with it,” he said.

Johnson had also mulled a run for U.S. Senate to succeed retiring Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, but teased his possible presidential campaign last month, suggesting he could run ads in Iowa or New Hampshire. 

He also recently wrote a new book, “Two Cents to Save America,”  outlining his plans for the economy, immigration and more. 


As he did in his gubernatorial campaign, Johnson announced the first steps of his presidential campaign by touting his work in the  quality control industry. He founded a Troy-based registrars firm that is accredited by industry groups to audit and issue standards certifications to auto, aerospace, food safety, cybersecurity and marijuana companies, among others.

As Bridge Michigan reported last year, Johnson made a fortune through his successful companies but ran campaign ads with exaggerated claims that he personally “saved the American automobile industry" using statistics and standards.

"I am a problem solver, a quality guru, and I am ready to take on the biggest and most inefficient institution in the country - the federal government," Johnson said Thursday. 

"I will be visiting Iowa in the next week, opening an office, and planning for my Iowa bus tour and formal announcement for president of the United States in the months ahead.”

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