Businessman Kevin Rinke launches campaign of fear and paranoia for governor of Michigan

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click to enlarge Republican Kevin Rinke is running for governor. - Rinke campaign
Rinke campaign
Republican Kevin Rinke is running for governor.

Millionaire businessman and Republican Kevin Rinke officially launched his campaign for Michigan governor on Monday, pledging to spend at least $10 million of his own money.

Rinke joins a crowded field of Republicans vying for a chance to take on Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in the 2022 general election.

Like many of the Republicans in the race, Rinke is tapping into the anger and paranoia that have dominated the GOP, and declared the “American Dream is under attack.”

“The problems are painfully clear: a tyrannical government ruled by career politicians; small businesses shuttered across the state; voting irregularities that threaten the integrity of our elections; critical race theory that indoctrinates, not educates, our children; and a governor who acts like a monarch, not an elected leader,” Rinke said in a statement.

Rinke also announced a “6 figure statewide advertising buy on broadcast, digital and cable systems across Michigan,” giving him a financial advantage over his Republican challengers.

In one of the ads, Rinke compares Whitmer and Democrats to a Yugo, a poorly built car from the former communist nation of Yugoslavia. He calls the Yugo a “pile of junk” like the “terrible socialist system it came from.” His campaign, he said, is like a 1969 GTO, a classic muscle car.

Rinke will need all the help he can get. Former Detroit police chief James Craig is the race's clear Republican frontrunner. As of early October, Craig has raised more than $1.4 million.

Whitmer raised $3.1 million in the latest campaign quarter and had $12.6 million on hand in early October. During the entire election cycle, Whitmer received more than $17 million in donations and spent about $4.4 million.

Ten other Republicans have formed candidate committees in potential bids to run against Whitmer. Garrett Soldano, a Kalamazoo chiropractor who built his name opposing Whitmer’s COVID-19 restrictions, leads the field of lesser-known GOP candidates in fundraising. In the past cycle, he raised $496,000.

Rinke, of Bloomfield Township, comes from an auto family and is a former owner of the Rinke Automative Group.

“Only in America do countless families like mine have the opportunity to achieve the American Dream,” Rinke said. “My grandfather started one of the first GM franchises here in Michigan over 100 years ago. I started working in our family business at the bottom - clearing trash, cleaning restrooms, and washing cars. At 26-years old, I took the helm and helped build and grow our company into one of the most successful automotive groups in the country.”

Rinke casts himself as “a political outsider,” and in September he announced he wasn’t going o the Mackinac Policy Conference.

“Republican voters want an outsider who won’t put up with politics as usual, and that’s exactly what I plan on giving them,” he said at the time.

The Michigan Democratic Party said Rinke is just more of the same.

“The MIGOP already had a messy, divisive, unsettled primary on their hands and Kevin Rinke’s entrance into the race only complicates that further,” MDP spokesperson Rodericka Applewhaite said in a statement. “Though he plans to set himself apart by trying to buy this election, he stands with the rest of the field in his extreme views and his sole focus on relitigating an election that happened over a year ago over issues that matter to Michigan families. Michiganders deserve a governor that’s actually going to fight for working families and the issues they care about, like the recently signed infrastructure law that will invest in fixing local roads and create good-paying jobs.”

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About The Author

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
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