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Ex-Detroit chief all but launches Michigan governor campaign

Craig, the eighth Republican to form a candidate committee, is the best known and is considered a serious contender.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this Thursday, April 16, 2020, file photo, Detroit Police Chief James Craig addresses the media during Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan's daily media briefing on the coronavirus, in Detroit. In early July 2021, while speaking at an event, ex-Detroit police chief James Craig talked about his Republican credentials, telling party stalwarts about his evolution from being a “born” Democrat. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

LANSING, Mich. — Republican ex-Detroit police chief James Craig has all but launched his campaign for governor, seeking to become Michigan’s first Black governor with a “law-and-order” message and emphasis on his leadership abilities.

Craig, the eighth Republican to form a candidate committee, is the best known and is considered a serious contender. A former Democrat, the 61-year-old would be just the second Black major-party gubernatorial nominee if he wins the 2022 primary and would face Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.  

“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,” Craig said in a statement to media. “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.

“We will discuss the impact of supposedly free government money and the associated rising prices we have to pay in our day-to-day lives.”

Craig, who retired in June, released a video Wednesday and announced the formation of an “exploratory committee” that lets him begin raising and spending money. His campaign says a formal launch with events and rallies will likely occur after Labor Day.

RELATED: James Craig teases gubernatorial run at Kent GOP, urges young people to vote Republican

On Monday, Craig teased his gubernatorial run at the Kent GOP office in Grand Rapids.

“We are the party that wants kids off the streets,” Craig said. “We are the party that wants young adults to get a jumpstart on life. We are the party of lowering taxes and lowering freedom and once we reach out to disaffected voters who are struggling in the city under these failed Democratic policies, then it will be time to focus on the elections of 2022.”

Craig went on to say that in November of 2022, Michigan will be “celebrating our independence from the rule of Gov. Whitmer.”

The next Michigan gubernatorial election is set for Nov. 8, 2022.

*The AP contributed to this report. 

RELATED: Craig gives 1st political speech, preps gubernatorial run


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