James Craig, the ex-Detroit police chief, launched his Republican campaign for governor of Michigan on Wednesday. Craig seeks to become Michigan's first Black governor with a message on "law-and-order" and criticism of current governor Gretchen Whitmer on the coronavirus orders issued by the Democrat.
Craig, the eighth GOP candidate to enter the governor's race, is considered a serious contender and popular too. However, he is still inexperienced in electoral politics, which may be a major roadblock in his journey to becoming a governor of Michigan.
A former Democrat, the 61-year-old ex-police chief will be just the second major-party gubernatorial nominee as a Black candidate if he wins the 2022 primary and faces Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
His campaign announced the formation of an exploratory committee and said Craig would conduct an upcoming "listening tour" of the state. Craig, who retired in June as police chief of Detroit, had indicated his intention to run for governorship for the past few months.
He has promoted his efforts to keep Detroit safe and peaceful during the nationwide revolts against police killings of Black people. He has vowed to take his "success through self-reliance" slogan to cities where Blacks and other voters majorly back Democrat candidates.
In a statement to the press, Craig said, "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 government's policies are having on their communities, their workplaces, and their families."
Previous attempts by the Republicans to make gains in places like Detroit and Flint have failed miserably. The current governor Whitmer, who won by nearly 10% points in 2018, took 94% of the vote in the state's largest city.
In 2020, US Senate candidate John James, a Black, won merely 5% of Detroit votes.
Still, Michigan is considered a swing state, and Whitmer seems potentially weak in a midterm election environment that always favors the party opposite the President.
While no first-term governor has lost in Michigan in the past 60 years, Whitmer will be the first administrator to seek re-election while her party rules the White House in 48 years.This year, she has already raised $8.5 million to date, a record for a gubernatorial candidate for an entire non-election year.
Seven other Republicans with a campaign committee include veteran army candidate Austin Chenge of Grand Rapids, Bob Scott of Howell, Allendale Township's real estate broker Ryan Kelley from Ottawa County's who organized protests against the governor's coronavirus restrictions; pastor Ralph Rebandt II of Oakland County; Kalamazoo chiropractor and lockdown opponent Garrett Soldano, conservative host Tudor Dixon of Norton Shores, and Articia Bomer of Detroit.
Major-party candidates for governor must file at least 15,000 valid voters signatures, including a minimum of 100 each from half of Michigan's 14 congressional districts, to qualify for the August 2022 primary.
When asked about the threat of James Craig, Lavora Barnes, the Chief Operation Officer of Michigan Democratic Party said, "James Craig is 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."
While the Democrats don't see Craig as a threat, it would not be easy for Gretchen Whitmer this time. Many in the state have heavily criticized her for her policies and mishandling of the Coronavirus pandemic. Even the BLM revolt has changed the scenario across U.S., and people's sentiments seem to be affected across the country.
Only the August 2022 primary results will tell us if history repeats or this time history will change.
This is original content from NewsBreak’s Creator Program. Join today to publish and share your own content.