James Craig, who served as chief of Police in Detroit, MI, since 2013 and retired this spring, is running for governor of the Great Lake State, he announced to Fox News’s Tucker Carlson Wednesday night.
Craig has formed a gubernatorial exploratory committee to begin his run against Democratic incumbent Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
“I’ve protected and served for 44 years in this profession,” Craig, a Republican and African-American Detroit native, told Carlson. “The best part: the last eight years here in Detroit. We know what happened last year, when other cities were burning; we know [in contrast to] Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago, that Detroit did not burn.”
Craig has so far positioned himself as a thoroughgoing conservative on issues of crime and justice. He calls bail reform a “miserable failure” and opposes ending the “qualified immunity” doctrine which protects government officials, including police, from liability in civil lawsuits, provided they haven’t violated anyone’s explicitly established rights. He has also concluded, based upon his more than four decades of law-enforcement experience, that gun ownership by upstanding citizens can reduce violent crime.
The former police chief also lamented the degree to which lockdowns and capacity restrictions have hurt Michigan businesses in 2020 and early 2021. The state has been especially stringent in its imposition of those rules, even as Whitmer disregarded capacity limits at a pizzeria in May, before such limits were lifted. She also made a family trip to Florida during quarantine, despite discouraging travel.
“Let’s talk about Governor Whitmer,” Craig said. “She follows different rules. She just does. And then I can’t help but think about the small businesses who are suffering through the pandemic….”
Carlson, while making clear he doesn’t make endorsements from his Fox News platform, said of Whitmer, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a whinier, less competent victim than your current governor.” The host also praised Craig’s handling of crime in Detroit in contrast to the records of other major cities.
Craig said liberal politicians who view government assistance as the key response to the economic devastation caused by the COVID countermeasures have failed to return employment to its pre-pandemic level. In the months just before COVID-19 hit, Michigan’s jobless rate was roughly 3.7 percent; it is now around five percent.
“Folks want a ‘hand up,’ and I’m all for a ‘hand up,’” Craig said. “They don’t want a government ‘hand out.’”
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Bradley Vasoli is a reporter at The Michigan Star and The Star News Network. Follow Brad on Twitter at @BVasoli. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Gov Gretchen Whitmer” by Gov Whitmer and “James Craig” by James Craig.