Recently, former top Detroit cop James Craig announced that he is officially taking on incumbent Gretchen Whitmer.
Of the viable candidates, Craig appears to be the most likely to eventually take on the governor as the Republican nominee.
Businessman Kevin Rinke has yet to announce he’s running. The other candidates have nowhere near the name recognition Craig does.
On paper, James Craig is a good match to take on Governor Whitmer. He managed the largest police department in the state. He would most likely be a favorite among law enforcement officers and other first responders, and that is a big group to get support from.
He’d also appeal to the conservative half of the state. Craig is very pro-gun and has said he wants to stop the governor from implement more liberal agendas.
Another reason is that Detroit often determines the election. It is still the largest city in the state, and Craig and his supporters may have thought that he could steal some support, as Detroit is so often a hotbed for democrats/ Whitmer won it. The city overwhelmingly voted for Joe Biden, and Mike Duggan sailed to his last reelection.
New polls, however, are showing that is not the case.
A report for Deadline Detroit showed that Craig would have a harder time getting support in his home city than previously thought.
Many citizens dislike Craig for allying with former President Trump. While the former president inspires zealotry in his supporters, it is causing support to drop for mainstream Republicans and bolstering Democratic talking points.
One resident said that was the very reason he wouldn’t vote for James Craig in the coming election, “as far as him coming out and saying he’s going to run under the Republican Party, that rubbed me the wrong way." Gibbs said Donald Trump has uprooted U.S. election norms and it is "ludicrous" for Craig to align himself with the former president's party. "I don’t understand that."
Also Craig has lost support for being critical of Whitmer’s handling of the Black Lives Matter protests last summer. This was not a smart move. Detroit saw some of the biggest protests and to come out against almost assuredly losing Detroit.
But Craig doubled down on his opinion saying that he wanted to stop Whitmer from defunding the police, the popular cry to allocate spending for other services that arose during the Black Lives Matter protests.
He also recently slammed the governor for shutting down schools and for shutting down the city during the pandemic. However, while Whitmer may not have been perfect, when Detroit was shut down, it was one of the biggest Covid hotspots in the country and shutting it down arguably saved many lives.
It seems like Craig has mostly given up trying to win the city and is instead doubling down on conservative values, saying he’s against abortion, pro-gun, and opposes restructuring to address police brutality.
In a recent survey, only 28 percent of voters in Detroit said his reign as chief would make them more likely to vote for him. Many questioned why he would court Trump’s approval, as the former president only received 5% percent of the vote in the last election.
So, one thing is clear. Should James get elected, the path is not through Detroit.
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