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‘Detroit never burned’: Fmr. Police Chief explores running for Michigan governor, touts riot record

Kendall Tietz, DCNF

The former police chief of the Detroit Police Department announced Wednesday that he is considering a run for Republican governor of Michigan through an exploratory committee.

In the campaign-style ad, titled “Leading From the Front,” James Craig highlighted his role in Detroit during the riots of 2020 saying cities such as Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia and “even some cities here in Michigan,” burned “but not Detroit,” because his police department never retreated.

Launching an exploratory committee is often the first official step candidates take to allow them to begin fundraising and further consider a run for office, local Detroit news station, FOX 2 reported. The station reported that it had confirmed Craig would appear on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” to make an announcement.


Craig reflected on his time as a police officer and leader in the city as police chief of a department that he said was in shambles when he first started. He said there was equipment that didn’t work, low morale and hour-long waits for 911 emergency calls, but by leading from the front he turned the city around.

“As a leader, we led from the front, we turned it around and made Detroit a safer city,” Craig said. “I met with so many in our community so that we can build that trust-based relationship.”

He said he fostered that relationship to build trust and “following the tragic death of [George] Floyd in Minneapolis, Detroit never burned and always our police officers mattered.”

Craig has an extensive past in policing, having worked as a police officer in Los Angeles for decades and served as the chief of police in Cincinnati and Portland, Maine, according to his Twitter profile.

He said he didn’t want “rules for me, but not for thee” and promoted “not a hand out, but a hand up.”

Craig would be running against incumbent Democratic Gov. Gretchen Witmer, but a formal announcement on a gubernatorial campaign isn’t expected until after Labor Day, The Hill reported.

Witmer has sustained criticism during the pandemic for her extensive restrictions and handling of the virus, including violating her own pandemic indoor dining rules for which she eventually apologized and traveling out of state to visit her father.

“Now it is time to travel the state, and visit other communities,” Craig said in a news release issued by the political consulting firm Strategic National, the Detroit Free Press reported. “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 governor’s policies are having on their communities, their workplaces and their families.”

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