Detroit police chief not ruling out governor bid during retirement announcement


Detroit Police Chief James Craig refused to rule out a bid to challenge Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer during a press conference announcing his retirement on Monday.

Craig revealed that he is “voluntarily” departing the force as he detailed a multitude of accomplishments in the law enforcement body, which was previously characterized by instability and poor working conditions. The announcement follows a flurry of media reports suggesting the top officer would seek to unseat Whitmer, who has received a wave of criticism over her stringent protocols since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

When asked about the rumors, Craig said he has “not made that decision” but is “not ruling it out.” The Detroit native, who began his law enforcement career in 1977, added that he's been a Republican for the last 10 to 11 years, though his political views did not affect his policies in a Democratic-majority area.

“As a police chief, I serve everyone,” he said.


“I am deeply passionate for public service, but not just public service, but in a leadership role,” Craig continued.

The chief went on to say that he's been bombarded with messages from Michiganders, both Republicans and Democrats, who want to see him pursue office.

When asked about specific political positions, such as support of former President Donald Trump, Craig declined to answer.

On Monday, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan credited Craig for bringing “professionalism to the department” and helping the embattled city rebuild from years of rampant crime and controversy in the force. However, Duggan also called Whitmer “the best partner” to the city and told reporters he'd “support her” even if Craig were to pursue office.

On Saturday, several outlets reported the chief was looking to prepare a gubernatorial campaign. Michigan Republican Party Chairman Ron Weiser acknowledged that he spoke with Craig and other potential contenders.

“I think he would make a fine candidate, should he choose to run,” Weiser said.

If he were to win the Republican primary, Craig would be the second black person to be on a general election ballot for governor as a Republican. Former Wayne County Executive William Lucas ran in 1986 but lost to Democrat James Blanchard.

Craig, who has been a frequent guest on Fox News to discuss issues relating to law enforcement, chided Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib for calling for an end to policing.


“She's reckless,” Craig said on April 18 of Tlaib, who represents a part of Detroit in Congress. “I'd love to see her resign. I'd throw her a goodbye party.”

“Who is she speaking for?” he added. “When you talk about abolishing police, incarceration, when you talk about safe cities — what do you think the residents in Detroit want? I know. I speak with them.”

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