Advance Notice: Briefs

Former Detroit police chief forms exploratory committee for GOP gubernatorial run 

By: - July 21, 2021 7:23 am

Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig at Kent County Young Republicans meeting on July 19, 2021 | Allison R. Donahue

Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig announced Wednesday the formation of his candidate committee, “Chief James Craig for Governor Exploratory Committee,” as the first step toward a 2022 run for governor.

However, his official announcement that he’s running for governor is still likely weeks away. 

Craig stepped down from his position with the Detroit Police Department in May and confirmed to the media he was a Republican. Craig has started making his rounds around the state to build his name outside of Detroit, as some pundits have pegged him as the strongest GOP candidate to beat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2022. 

Earlier this month, Craig made his first appearance as a political figure in Jackson celebrating the 167th anniversary of the founding of the Republican Party.

On Monday, Craig spoke at a Kent County Young Republicans meeting in Grand Rapids for his second-ever political speech, where he slammed Whitmer for her strong health orders responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, calling her “Queen Gretchen.”

Now Craig is gearing up for a statewide listening tour for the remainder of the summer.

“I led as chief of police — and began my life — on the streets of Detroit.  Now it is time to travel the state, and visit other communities,” Craig said “I will be talking with law enforcement, hosting small business roundtables, and meeting with voters in their homes to hear about the negative impact the current governor’s policies are having on their communities, their workplaces and their families.”

According to a press release from Craig’s team, “A formal announcement with events and rallies will likely occur after Labor Day when voters begin paying closer attention to the 2022 elections.”

This announcement of his exploratory committee, which allows a candidate to begin raising and spending resources, follows a complaint filed by former Michigan Republican Party Executive Director Jeff Timmer on Monday. 

Timmer filed a complaint with the Secretary of State’s office alleging Craig has been campaigning illegally because he hasn’t registered a committee with her office.

There are at least five other Republicans running for governor in 2022: Grand Rapids Republican Austin Chenge, right-wing television commentator Tudor Dixon, Allendale Township Planning Commissioner Ryan Kelley, Kalamazoo chiropractor Garrett Soldano and Evan Space, who did not make it on the 2018 ballot. 

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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue covers education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.