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Thursday, September 9, 2021

James Craig is pretending he hasn’t announced he’s running for governor yet

Posted By on Thu, Sep 9, 2021 at 11:23 AM

click to enlarge Retired Detroit Police Chief James Craig. - STEVE NEAVLING
  • Steve Neavling
  • Retired Detroit Police Chief James Craig.

Former Detroit police chief James Craig plans to announce — again — that he’s running for governor of Michigan as a Republican.

His candidacy may be the worst-kept-secret in Michigan politics.

On July 21, Craig appeared on Fox News’ "Tucker Carlson Tonight" and declared he was running for governor.

“I’ve got to tell you, I’m running,” Craig told Carlson.

On his campaign’s website, he’s also selling hats, shirts, and stickers adorned with a patch of a police shield, emblazoned with “Chief James Craig for Governor.”

But Craig, trying to drum up media attention, announced Wednesday on his Facebook page that he’s officially kicking off his campaign on Belle Isle at 10 a.m. Tuesday. That’s followed by events at 12:15 p.m. in Flint and 4:30 p.m. in Grand Rapids on the same day.

Craig is among at least 10 Republican gubernatorial candidates so far. The others include Michigan State Police Capt. Mike Brown, of Stevensville; Kalamazoo chiropractor and conspiracy theorist Garrett Soldano; Ottawa County real estate agent Ryan Kelley; former conservative news host Tudor Dixon, of Muskegon County; Oakland County pastor Ralph Rebandt; Livingston County evangelist and substitute teacher Bob Scott; Lansing businessman Evan Space; document specialist Articia Bomer, of Detroit; and Grand Rapids entrepreneur Austin Chenge.

Craig will need all the media attention he can drum up. An August poll by EPIC-MRA showed that half of the respondents didn’t recognize Craig’s name. Nevertheless, the poll showed he was running neck-and-neck with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a first-term Democrat.

Craig has been raising campaign contributions for more than a month, and he’s going to need it. Whitmer has raised more than $8.6 million this year, breaking a record for the most money raised by a Michigan gubernatorial candidate in an off-year. She has more than $10.6 million in the bank, her campaign announced in late July.

At Craig’s first campaign press conference on Aug. 23, he trod lightly on the subject of election fraud and former President Donald Trump, who remains wildly popular among Republicans in Michigan. Asked about the baseless claims that Democrats stole the election from Trump, Craig struggled to respond.

"If there was evidence, if there was a proper investigation that the election was stolen," Craig said before retreating. “I don’t have that information.”

In response, the Michigan Democratic Party said it sent Craig a bottle of Windex.

“May it aid your efforts to wipe your question-dodging slate clean and be more transparent with reporters in the future, but we suggest just answering their questions next time,” MDP spokesperson Rodericka Applewhaite said in a statement. “Where you stand on the legitimacy of our elections and who or what you think incited the violent insurrection on January 6th would be an excellent start.”

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