Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig Signals Challenge to Gov. Whitmer

July 21, 2021 Updated: July 21, 2021

Detroit’s former police chief on Wednesday announced the formation of an exploratory committee as an initial step towards a gubernatorial run.

Former Police Chief James Craig can now start raising and spending funds.

“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. 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,” Craig said in an emailed statement to The Epoch Times.

“As police chief I was the first one through the door, and as Governor I will lead from the front,” he added.

Craig also released a video that shows him driving around Detroit, alleging the city became safer under his watch.

Craig, 65, is a Republican. He said he will share a message of self-reliance “and the value of a hand up, rather than a government handout.”

“We will discuss the importance of a job, and the self-confidence that comes from hard work.  We will discuss the importance of education, and more options for parents and their children,” he added.

Craig retired last month.

Craig’s committee said a formal announcement on the bid will likely occur after Labor Day.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, 45, a Democrat who entered office in early 2019, is running for reelection.

Virus Outbreak Michigan
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks during a press conference on Belle Isle in Detroit, Mich., on June 22, 2021. (David Guralnick/Detroit News via AP)

Whitmer’s campaign reported this week raising $8.5 million this year and having more than $10 million cash on hand.

Whitmer is not at this time facing strong primary opposition.

Republicans who have declared their candidacies include businessman Austin Chenge, actor Evan Space, and Bob Scott, vice president of the Evangelical Alliance Ministerial Association.

Reacting to Craig’s announcement, the Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes described him as “just another politician that thinks he can get through this messy and crowded GOP field of far-right extremists without any accountability on his stances—clinging to this non-existent ‘exploratory’ status is just the latest of his question-dodging tactics.”

“He should immediately explain to voters why he’s for guns in schools and has looked the other way on violent militia uprisings in Washington and Lansing,” she added. “Meanwhile, Governor Whitmer continues to exhibit decisive, steady leadership that has saved lives and put Michigan on the path to recovery as our state yields the dividends of a budget surplus and the fastest growing economy in the Midwest.”

Whitmer beat Republican candidate Bill Schuette, a lawyer, with approximately 53 percent of the vote in 2018. She succeeded Rick Snyder, a Republican who was prevented from running again due to term limits.

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