James Craig launches improbable write-in campaign for governor

The former Detroit police chief was considered a frontrunner before a series of missteps

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 announced Thursday that he’s launching a long-shot write-in campaign for the Republican gubernatorial primary election after his nominating petitions were rejected last month.

Despite the long odds, Craig expressed optimism that he’s going to win and defeat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in November.

“I’m going to be the next governor,” Craig said on Fox 2 Detroit.

Early in the campaign, Craig was considered the frontrunner. But after a series of missteps, lackluster fundraising, and a failure to maintain campaign staff, Craig's campaign never took off like many expected. He dodged interviews by the local media, preferring instead to go on national, right-wing talk shows.

Craig also skipped the first Republican gubernatorial debate.

His decisions as Detroit’s top cop also came back to haunt him. He failed to fulfill his pledge to get certified as a police officer when he was chief, and he admitted he fled the scene of a carjacking but never appeared to file a report.

In February, Craig’s campaign sent out a fundraising letter blasting Michigan State Police for being “weak-kneed” when protesters disrupted his campaign announcement on Belle Isle, but now denies sending it out.

Craig said his supporters convinced him to run a write-in campaign.

"I'm not going to roll over," Craig said. "This is not about me as a candidate, this is about the voters of Michigan."

Craig was among five candidates who failed to make the ballot for turning in thousands of fraudulent signatures.

“They have robbed me,” Craig said of the fraudsters that his campaign hired to collect signatures.

Craig will face five Republicans who are on the ballot. They are businesswoman Tudor Dixon, businessman Kevin Rinke, chiropractor Garrett Soldano, Pastor Ralph Rebandt, and real estate salesman Ryan Kelley, who was arrested by the FBI on Thursday for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Michigan Democratic Party spokeswoman Rodericka Applewhaite mocked the remaining field of Republicans.

“Has anyone tried unplugging the MIGOP and plugging it back in again?" Rodericka said in a statement Thursday night. "Chief fraudster James Craig’s far-fetched write-in campaign is only further proof that the irresponsible and lawless Republican primary field will remain chaotic and unsettled until the bitter end.”

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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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