Detroit Police Chief James Craig is reportedly gearing up to run against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in one of the most watched midterm gubernatorial races.
Whitmer has become a frequent target of criticism on the right due to her restrictive COVID measures.
Details of Craig’s Republican challenge to Democrat Whitmer were reported in The Hill on Saturday.
“A source familiar with the matter confirmed to The Hill that Craig is laying the groundwork for a bid and has spoken with Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R), the chairman of the Republican Governors Association (RGA),” The Hill reported.
The story continued, “A second source familiar with the matter confirmed that Craig has met with Ron Weiser, the chair of the Michigan Republican Party, and is expected to announce on Monday a plan for his retirement from the Detroit Police Department.”
Local news affiliate Fox 2 first reported on Friday that the Detroit Police Department chief was planning to take on Gov. Whitmer.
Craig, a black man, has led a number of police departments across the country.
Before stepping in to his top law enforcement role in Detroit in 2013, his home city, he also led the police departments of Cincinnati and Portland, Maine.
Craig also served as a Los Angeles police officer for decades.
Craig running against Whitmer as a black Republican could be a significant advantage to the GOP, because he would be well-equipped to discuss the national police brutality and bias in the criminal justice system.
As an African-American who leads law enforcement, Craig could have a unique perspective in tackling these issues as a Republican.
The Hill noted, “Craig has been a staunch supporter of law enforcement throughout the debate but praised the conviction of Derek Chauvin on second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year, saying the verdict was a sign the ‘justice system worked’ but not representative of police officers across the country.”
“The Detroit police chief also has voiced a slate of policies that would likely endear him to the GOP electorate, including saying that city residents should purchase guns to reduce crime,” The Hill added.
Craig would likely draw attention from high-profile Republican backers given that the gubernatorial race is expected to be a top priority for both parties next year.
Major GOP donor Dan Eberhart tweeted, “Michigan deserves better, and James Craig, the current Chief of the Detroit PD, would be an excellent choice!”
Whitmer has been a primary target for Republicans in 2022 due to her states’s controversial strict coronavirus rules throughout 2020 and beyond.
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