Advance Notice: Briefs

Kevin Rinke announces bid for Michigan governor, joins crowded GOP field

By: - November 22, 2021 10:46 am

Kevin Rinke ad for governor | Screenshot

Kevin Rinke, a Bloomfield Township businessman, on Monday officially announced his candidacy for governor in a press release. The Republican is a former owner of Rinke Automotive Group, which owns car dealerships around Detroit. 

The announcement for his 2022 bid comes after Rinke launched a $226,000 cable and broadcast TV ad buy late last week. The buy was an initial segment of the $10 million he announced in July he would be putting towards his campaign. 

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer | Whitmer office photo

Rinke said that under Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the “American Dream is under attack” and that he has travelled across the state to hear concerns of Michiganders. 

“I’ve traveled all over Michigan and met with countless families and small business owners and employees,” Rinke said. “They are honest, smart, tough and resilient people. They want a leader to put an end to Governor Whitmer’s assault on our values and our way of life.  I’m fighting for their kids, their jobs, and their future and I won’t back down.”

Rinke also credited “voting irregularities that threaten the integrity of our elections” and “critical race theory” for reasons as to why he launched his campaign — amplifying two GOP conspiracies regarding the 2020 election and critical race theory.

Rinke launched his exploratory committee to run for governor on Sept. 10, but did not report any raised or spent funds as of Oct. 25, according to campaign finance reports. 

Rinke is the 12th candidate to join the race, following former Detroit Police Chief James Craig, conservative commentator Tudor Dixon, Garrett Soldano, Donna Brandenburg, Ralph Rebandt, Ryan Kelley, Bob Scott, Articia Bomer, Evan Space and Austin Chenge. 

Craig leads the field of candidates in fundraising, having raised about $1.4 million with $966,873 in cash on hand by the end of the third reporting period in 2021. Soldano raised the second highest for his campaign thus far, raising $1.1 million total as of the October filing deadline. 

The state GOP primary will take place in August 2022. The winner likely will face off against Whitmer in the general election next November. Whitmer won her election for the open seat against former-Attorney General Bill Schuette by 9 points in 2018. 

Whitmer had about $12.6 million in cash on hand for her campaign as of the October filing deadline. 

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Julia Forrest
Julia Forrest

Julia Forrest is a contributor to the Michigan Advance. She has been covering Michigan and national politics for two years at the Michigan Daily and OpenSecrets. She studies public policy at the University of Michigan.