If Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) is under the impression that a 2022 reelection victory is nothing more than a formality, she might want to reconsider that notion after it was announced this week that a new, influential challenger is ready to oust her from the governor’s mansion.
According to the Washington Examiner, Detroit Police Chief James Craig will reportedly ask residents to fire Whitmer and elect him as a Republican in next year’s election. Craig is expected to make a retirement announcement on Monday, but won’t make the announcement at that time out of respect for the city’s Democratic mayor.
A “fine candidate”
While nothing official has been announced by Craig or his people at this point in time, Michigan Republican Party Chairman Ron Weiser confirmed that he spoke to Craig and others who are thought to be in the running for the Republican primary next year.
Assuming Craig follows through on the news and should he win the Republican primary, he’ll make history as only the second Black Republican candidate to be on the general election ballot in a Michigan gubernatorial race.
“I think he would make a fine candidate, should he choose to run,” Weiser said, according to the Detroit News.
If you recognize the name, it’s because Craig has risen to conservative prominence thanks to his frequent appearances on Fox News, where he’s made clear his stance on issues like the Second Amendment as well as his firm resistance to the “defund the police” movement.
“But James Craig has developed the almost celebrity-like persona of someone who is unafraid to speak his mind and take action through his skilled appearances in Michigan’s TV largest market and on FOX,” said John Sellek, a Republican and owner of Harbor Strategic public relations.
Is Whitmer done?
Aside from Craig, a number of candidates are already primed to jump into Michigan’s gubernatorial race next year, as Whitmer has taken increased criticism over her handling — or mishandling, depending on who you ask — of lockdowns and restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A poll from March indicated that her job approval rating took an absolute beating, as her approval number went from 58% in September to 53% in March, presumably as residents of the state tired of prolonged restrictions and lockdowns, which have taken a massive toll on thousands of small businesses in the state.
Whitmer also likely plunged in popularity after it was revealed that much like New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), Whitmer placed COVID-19 patients in the state’s long-term care facilities, which likely resulted in far more pandemic-related deaths than need be.
“Public pressure has been mounting on Governor Whitmer over the past few months, and voters are taking notice,” Marketing Resource Group owner Jenell Leonard said in a statement. “Not much has changed in voters’ sentiment about the direction of the state, but they seem to be watching the policies and action of the Governor more closely and judging accordingly.”
While Whitmer still has strong support from the highest levels, such as President Joe Biden’s administration and other high-profile Democrats, only time will tell if it will be enough to help her limp into reelection next year versus the will of Michigan voters.