By Sara Powers

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — State Police Capt. Mike Brown on Tuesday submitted nominating petitions to run for governor, saying he brings “trusted leadership” to what is expected to be a large Republican primary field vying to challenge Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Brown is the third GOP candidate to turn in signatures, joining chiropractor and grassroots activist Garrett Soldano and financial adviser Michael Markey. Contenders must file 15,000 to 30,000 signatures by next week to advance to the August primary.

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Several top candidates have not yet submitted petitions.

“I just bring trusted leadership and the ability to connect with citizens, whether it’s the country, the suburbs or the urban areas,” Brown told reporters after turning in nearly 21,000 signatures. “I frankly get things done. We’ve seen total incompetence from this administration, just about every state department.”

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He added: “I’ve actually been a Republican my whole life.” That was an apparent dig at ex-Detroit Police Chief James Craig, a former Democrat who is running in the GOP contest.

Brown, who had given his campaign about $120,000 as of late December — accounting for most of his fundraising — lags well behind financially compared with Craig, Soldano, former online news host Tudor Dixon and self-funding millionaire businessmen Perry Johnson and Kevin Rinke. That will make it difficult for Brown to get his message to the electorate.

He said, however, that wealthy candidates’ spending “is not going to matter in this race. I don’t sense a millionaire vibe out there for this race. We need a commonsense conservative that can lead the Republican Party. They don’t have what it takes.”

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