Detroit police chief reportedly challenging Whitmer for Michigan governor

James Craig has appeared frequently on Fox News and other conservative outlets, earning the nickname "Hollywood Craig."

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Detroit Police Chief James Craig announced his retirement at a press conference on Monday. He will remain in office until June 1. 

“I’m leaving in a good place,” he said. “I love this city, and I love this state.”

Craig, a Black Republican who has identified as conservative for at least a decade, is reportedly considering a run for governor against Democratic incumbent Gretchen Whitmer

James Craig, the Republican chief of the Detroit Police Department, is reportedly considering a run for Michigan governor. (CBS Detroit)

When asked at the press conference if he was planning to seek office, he said, “I’m certainly evaluating my options,” and “I’m not ruling it out.” Craig told reporters that most of them “already knew” he was a Republican, but “as a police chief, I serve everyone, and that’s important to say.” 

Craig is a native Detroiter who started his law enforcement career in the city. However, he soon moved and worked for 28 years at the Los Angeles Police Department, rising to captain before retiring, then serving as chief in Portland, Maine and Cincinnati, Ohio for two years in each place before returning to lead his home city’s police force in 2013. 

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The chief has made frequent appearances on Fox News and other conservative outlets, earning himself the nickname “Hollywood Craig.” He recently told Newsmax he’s “certainly evaluating” a challenge to Whitmer. 

The outlet reported that Michigan GOP Chairman Ron Weiser and Republican Governors Association chairman and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey have both met with Craig. 

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“What I see going on today, I’m not going to sit back idly by,” Craig said of Whitmer, “I know a lot of Michiganders, both those on the left and right, want me to run for public office. So, I’ll be making a decision.”

Craig earned a lot of criticism for his treatment of protesters in Detroit during Black Lives Matter protests following the police killing of George Floyd in 2020. Detroit police deployed tear gas on peaceful protesters for several nights. 

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“We have relationships with our activist community,” Craig said on Newsmax, “but what we will not tolerate, we will not negotiate, and we will never retreat when some outside anarchists come in and try to promote violence. Detroiters don’t want it, I didn’t want it, our men and women didn’t want it.”

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said declaratively that while he hoped that Craig would remain the city’s top cop, he thinks Whitmer “has been the best partner the city has had in decades, and I will be supporting her. The chief and I disagree on a number of issues, and I suspect that is one of them.” 

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