THE BIG CATCH


James Craig

Oakland Confidential had been teased for a few weeks by several high level local Republicans that they had a “big name” that we would “never guess,”  who they were working on to run for governor in 2022 against incumbent Democrat Gretchen Whitmer. Now we all know now that soon-to-be-former Detroit Police Chief James Craig is their ‘big fish’ – at his retirement announcement, while cagey about his future, he confirmed, “I am a Republican.” Michigan Republicans are positively gleeful at the likelihood of a campaign skirmish between Craig and Whitmer – presuming Craig can prevail in a statewide primary. Without question Craig has been a force of positive change in the city of Detroit, but can that translate to statewide office? “For sure,” said one GOP heavyweight. “They’ll love him. He’s a law and order Black man.” However, southeast Michigan favorites do not always translate statewide. We remember another popular law enforcement guy – Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard – who had legislative experience, unlike Craig, having served in the state Senate before becoming sheriff, who ran for the U.S. Senate – unsuccessfully – against Senator Debbie Stabenow in 2006. He also threw his hat in the ring, also unsuccessfully, in 2010, for governor, when Rick Snyder got the nod, finishing fourth out of five candidates. However, today’s political landscape has changed, with outsiders (Donald Trump and others) prevailing over career politicians. Yet in MIRS (Michigan Information Research Service) polling after his announcement, Craig was not known by 67 percent of those polled.

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