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Douglas Andrews / May 11, 2021

Detroit’s Top Cop Poised to Challenge Whitmer

Police Chief James Craig calls himself a conservative, and he might be just the man to unseat an unpopular leftist governor.

“We don’t retreat here in Detroit. We’re just not gonna do it. You saw the images … of streets where there was lawlessness, looting, burning. No sign of police officers. We weren’t giving up ground to the radicals. We just didn’t do it.”

That was Detroit Police Chief James Craig last July, in the wake of the nationwide George Floyd mostly peaceful protests riots, upon being asked by Fox News’s Tucker Carlson how his city, which in 1967 saw whole blocks torched in a five-day riot that left 43 dead and thousands injured, had managed to avoid the rioting this time around.

Clearly, Chief Craig was determined to see that history didn’t repeat itself — at least not on his watch. And it appears that it won’t, as he announced yesterday that his watch will end on June 1, his last day as Detroit’s chief of police.

We doubt Craig’s last day as chief, though, will be his last day of public service. As the Detroit News’s Christine Ferretti reports, “In announcing his retirement, Detroit Police Chief James Craig said Monday he’s evaluating his political options but didn’t immediately announce a run for Michigan governor. Craig is expected to run in the Republican primary in a bid to challenge Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in next year’s gubernatorial race, a source close to the chief told The Detroit News on Friday. … At the Monday event, Craig acknowledged that he’s been a conservative for at least a decade and that he’s not made a decision on whether he’ll run for public office but said ‘I’m certainly evaluating my options’ and ‘I’m not ruling it out.’”

If he chooses to run, and if he’s successful, he’ll have blazed quite a trail — not only as Michigan’s first black governor but also as a cop and a conservative.

“I think he would make a fine candidate, should he choose to run,” said Ron Weiser, chairman of the state’s Republican Party.

Craig, 64, is a native Detroiter, where he began his career as a police officer before leaving for the Los Angeles PD, where he spent 28 years. After a two-year stint as Cincinnati police chief, Craig then returned to his hometown in 2013. His tenure as chief is the second-longest in the city’s history.

As the Detroit News reported Friday, “Republicans have been searching for a challenger with strong name recognition and cross-over appeal. Supporters believe Craig’s solid reputation as a fair, no-nonsense police chief who has spoken against anti-police protests and for Second Amendment rights, while maintaining strong community support, is their guy. … Republicans also hope the popular police chief can deliver votes for the party from Detroit, where GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill Schuette got 3.7% support in 2018 compared with Whitmer’s 94%.”

Whitmer won’t get anywhere near 94% of the Detroit vote against Craig, and that cross-over appeal could be decisive — especially against a sneering, hypocritical incumbent who’s been beset by one scandal after another.

Craig has also shown himself to be politically astute, publicly calling out woke supremacists such as NBAer LeBron James and Congresswomen Maxine Waters and Rashida Tlaib, and supporting the Second Amendment rights of Detroiters to defend themselves with firearms. “Folks are sick and tired of being victims,” he said in 2014.

To tee up his interview with Chief Craig last July, Tucker Carlson said, “Violence, like appendicitis, doesn’t go away just because you ignore it. It tends to get much worse.”

We suppose that axiom is true, too, of bad governance. And it doesn’t appear that James Craig is inclined to ignore the freedom-crushing, lockdown-loving leadership he’s been seeing out of Lansing of late.

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