Detroit Police Chief James Craig has long had political ambitions, but his options to run as a Democrat have been limited. Mayor Mike Duggan is seeking a third term and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is likely to run for a second.
So on Monday afternoon, he's expected to announce his retirement from the police department as a step toward running for governor as a Republican in 2022.
► Update: Craig confirmed Monday he's officially departing June 1 and is leaving the door open to run for office. The chief, who said he is a Republican, declined to get specific about his plans, but said he'll clarify after leaving the department. Multiple reports say he'll run against Whitmer in 2022. [Our coverage]
"He's made a decision that he can't go anywhere in Michigan, in Detroit, in Wayne County unless he runs as a Republican," veteran pollster Ed Sarpolus, director Target-Insyght, tells Deadline Detroit. "And in this case here, he wants to shoot for the top." (See interview below).
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Financial support is a key factor in Craig's pending bid.
"He's got to convince people right now he's worth the investment, because otherwise he goes into next year, he's not going to have the money necessary to pull it off," Sarpolus says.
If he gets the nomination, Sarpolus says, he'll need to distance himself from a divisive ex-President Donald Trump, who has publicly praised him for his handling of "Black Lives Matter" demonstrations in Detroit. Craig has also become a media darling on Fox News.
Sarpolus spoke to Deadline Detroit Sunday afternoon about Craig's chances and what he'll be up against in a bid for the state's top elected office.