Advance Notice: Briefs

Look who’s back: Engler helps start Craig PAC

By: - August 17, 2021 1:40 pm
John Engler

John Engler in Washington, DC. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Former Gov. John Engler, who resigned from his interim Michigan State University post amid scandal in 2019, isn’t done with Michigan.

The Republican, who served as governor from 1991 to 2002, was tapped to helm MSU after the school was rocked by allegations that Dr. Larry Nassar sexually abused hundreds of women while being on staff. However, Engler came under fire for his treatment of Nassar survivors, including telling the Detroit News editorial board that Nassar survivors were “enjoying the spotlight” while the university is “trying to go back to work.”

Engler quit before the MSU Board of Trustees was expected to fire him in January 2019. He said he was returning to his home in Texas.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig | Screenshot

But the former state Senate majority leader doesn’t appear to be done with Michigan politics, as he’s the treasurer of the new “We Need the Chief” political action committee (PAC) filed Thursday with the Secretary of State. That backs likely GOP gubernatorial candidate James Craig, the former Detroit police chief. The Laingsburg mailing address listed in the filing belongs to Engler, per the Detroit Free Press, which first reported the story.

Craig has formed an “exploratory committee” and told Fox News host Tucker Carlson he is running to oust Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2022.

The GOP primary field is crowded, including Allendale Planning Commissioner Ryan Kelley, right-wing commentator Tudor Dixon, pastor Ralph Rebandt, chiropractor Garrett Soldano, entrepreneur Austin Chenge and evangelist Bob Scott.

High-profile Republicans like former Trump Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Republican National Committeewoman Ronna McDaniel have said they’re not interested in running.

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Susan J. Demas

Susan J. Demas is a 23-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on C-SPAN, MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQ people, the state budget, the economy and more. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 100 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive.