Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig ends GOP run for open Senate seat in Michigan

 February 14, 2024

James Craig, the former Detroit police chief who was running as a Republican for an open U.S. Senate seat in Michigan, announced on Tuesday that he was ending his senatorial campaign, The Hill reported.

The main reason behind Craig's decision to step away from the Senate bid appears to be financial struggles and fundraising difficulties and not a lack of support for the well-liked former law enforcement official.

In fact, while his run to represent Michigan in Washington D.C. may now be over, Craig indicated that he's likely not leaving the political scene altogether but rather is setting his sights closer to home by considering a campaign next year to be Detroit's next mayor.

Campaign ended over fundraising struggles

The Associated Press reported that Craig, who launched his campaign four months ago to fill the soon-to-be-vacant seat left by the retiring Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), told the outlet that ending his senatorial campaign "is strictly a business decision."

"I’m not leaving because I felt like I didn’t have the support. But from a business end, you need funds to run a campaign," he added.

Though still relatively popular following his eight-year tenure as Detroit's police chief that ended in 2021, Craig's Senate campaign struggled to garner financial support and he reportedly raised only around $60,000 by the end of 2023.

That paled in comparison to the roughly $2 million raised by his biggest Republican rival in the primary, former Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), and was dwarfed by the nearly $12 million raised by the likely Democratic nominee for the open Senate seat, Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI).

Insufficient funds and valid petition signatures for ballot eligibility

In an interview with The Detroit News, Craig said of his decision to end his senatorial campaign, "The reality is fundraising is a challenge right now."

He explained that his campaign needed to obtain at least 15,000 more valid petition signatures within the next two months to ensure that his name appeared on the August primary ballot, an effort that was estimated to cost at least $350,000 -- a rather tall task given that his campaign only had around $28,000 in cash on hand to start the year.

Craig's concern over the validity of petition signatures is legitimate and understandable because his 2022 gubernatorial run, in which he was the frontrunning GOP candidate, was cut short when the Michigan Bureau of Elections declared him and several other Republican candidates ineligible due to the exclusion of a mass amount of forged and fraudulent petition signatures -- which none of the candidates had anything to do with -- that dropped him below the required minimum number of valid signatures.

As for his fundraising issues, the former police chief suggested that the "donor class" and GOP establishment in Washington D.C. had thrown all of their support behind former Rep. Rogers.

For his part, Rogers reacted to the news of Craig dropping out of the race with kind outreach and said in a statement, "I hope that he will continue to be engaged, and I will seek his counsel on how we can work together to bring a brighter and safer future for all Michiganders."

Considering a run for mayor

The AP reported that with his failed Senate campaign now out of the way, Craig has shifted his focus and revealed that he is "strongly considering" running for mayor in his beloved city of Detroit. If successful, he would be the first GOP mayor of the Motor City since the early 1960s.

Craig told The Detroit News of a possible 2025 mayoral run, "That’s a pathway I would certainly take a serious look at."

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
© 2015 - 2024 Conservative Institute. All Rights Reserved.