A little more than a year out from the 2022 election, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat who is anticipated to run for a second term in office, is in a statistical dead with Republican challenger James Craig, according to a Detroit Free Press/EPIC-MRA poll done in late August. The poll found that 45 percent of likely Michigan voters surveyed would vote for Whitmer, and 44 percent said they would vote for Craig. The one-point gap is well within the polls’ plus-or-minus four percentage points margin of error. Another 11 percent were undecided or refused to say. That should concern Whitmer, as many acknowledged they didn’t know Craig – but does show Republican antipathy to Whitmer, especially over her handling of the pandemic. “We’re in a very polarized environment right now. Republicans are voting for Craig right now even though they have no knowledge about him. I have no doubt both sides will educate about him, and he has a lot of vulnerabilities,” said Bernie Porn of EPIC-ERA. Craig is hardly the only Republican running in the primary election next August to represent the party, but he is currently the most well-known, and appears to have the GOP’s backing. Also currently running is Garrett Soldano, a Kalamazoo chiropractor; Tudor Dixon, a conservative TV commentator from Muskegon County; Michigan State Police Captain Mike Brown; Oakland County Pastor Ralph Rebrandt; Ryan Kelley, an Ottawa County real estate agent; Bob Scott, a Livingston County evangelist and substitute teacher; Lansing businessman Evan Space; and Grand Rapids entrepreneur Austin Chenge. There are rumblings that others, such as Bloomfield Township’s Kevin Rinke, a former auto dealer who has launched an exploratory committee, may also jump into the race.