Craig is supposed to state his retirement from the police department Monday and will outline his intentions in the following press conference, according to the Detroit News. The newspaper quoted a source who said that Craig will not consider his candidacy at the retirement announcement out of respect for Democratic Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.
Republicans have been seeking 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.
Duggan is a Whitmer fan and will appear alongside Craig at the retirement announcement.
“I’m a lifelong public servant,” Craig said. “I want to continue to serve.”
Michigan Republican Party Chairman Ron Weiser reportedly admitted that he talked with Craig and other potential contenders.
“I think he would make a fine candidate, should he choose to run,” Weiser said.
If he were to win the Republican primary, Craig would be the second black person to be on a general election ballot for governor as a Republican. Former Wayne County Executive William Lucas ran in 1986 but was dropped by Democrat James Blanchard.
In Craig, the GOP sees a nominee who is ready to jump into the race early, with the capacity to coalesce Republican donors and grassroots activists. 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%.
Craig, who has been a common guest on Fox News to discuss issues relating to law enforcement, criticized Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib for calling for an end to policing.
“She's reckless,” Craig said on April 18 of Tlaib, who represents a part of Detroit in Congress. “I'd love to see her resign. I'd throw her a goodbye party.”
“Who is she speaking for?” he added. “When you talk about abolishing police, incarceration when you talk about safe cities — what do you think the residents in Detroit want? I know. I speak with them.”
A request from Craig might put him up against another famous black Republican, John James, in the primary. James, who lost an effort to oust Democratic Sen. Gary Peters in 2020, is also reportedly considering a run for governor.