“Craig…was, after all, not ready for prime time. He was not organized enough for the kind of political journey he was trying to undertake.” – conservative columnist Bankole Thompson
For months, the worst kept secret in Michigan politics has been the total implosion of MIGOP-insider favorite and chief “neophyte” James Craig’s gubernatorial run. Recent reporting has offered clear-eyed analysis of the Detroit Dodger’s “adrift” campaign and shoddy management skills that Craig brought with him from DPD to his run for governor.
Despite an ongoing court battle to appear on the ballot after getting caught submitting tens of thousands of fraudulent signatures sourced through forgery and the exploitation of dead voters, many expect that Craig’s campaign is days away from shuttering for good.
The effort would only prolong a hobbled gubernatorial run that never “moved out of first gear” as it weathered an avalanche of negative coverage surrounding the departure of his third campaign manager in a row.
Over several months, he maintained a light campaign schedule and hasn’t managed to visit areas of Michigan “practically synonymous with Republican politics” – a costly move that kicked off a mass exodus of his endorsements.
The earliest sign of Craig’s implosion was his fundraising report for the final quarter of 2021 as it revealed he raised less than half of what he did in the previous quarter and his “donations of $200 or less decreased 300% from July to October 2021.” The retiree’s schemes to fund his campaign have grown only more desperate since. Earlier this year, he tried to fundraise off of calling MSP troopers a bunch of “weak-kneed…underlings” who “abandon[ed] their jobs” to operate as cronies – then lied about it and claimed “campaign sabotage.”
Detroit News (OPINION): James Craig’s Signature Screwup Reveals Campaign Chaos
By Bankole Thompson
The colossal collapse of the gubernatorial campaigns of several Republican candidates, notably including former Detroit police Chief James Craig, over allegations of fraudulent petition signatures is an instructive lesson on the dangers of hubris, ineptitude and lack of preparation.
Craig was once seen as a possible strong contender against incumbent Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer given the high-profile role he played in Detroit over the last couple of years as the top cop and also deputy mayor.
But reports surfacing about how his campaign and those of four other candidates didn’t submit enough valid signatures to meet the threshold to qualify on the ballot paint a picture of chaos in their campaigns.
Craig in particular branded himself as a political showman and darling of the political right. His appearances on Fox News during and after his stint as police chief and claims that he was able to keep the city calm during the 2020 demonstrations ignited by George Floyd’s death drew confidence. […]
But instead the signature saga that could permanently disqualify Craig from the 2022 election reveals that the former police boss of Detroit was, after all, not ready for prime time. He was not organized enough for the kind of political journey he was trying to undertake.
Running for governor is more than just making an announcement and conducting media interviews to seek more popularity on social media. It is not just appearing on your favorite national television network.
Seeking the state’s highest office means establishing an above-board campaign that has a surgically precise political operation, including for the collection of valid and substantial signatures that pass critical review. Campaigns must have the highest level of political integrity.
If Craig couldn’t pass the valid signatures test, one has to wonder how he ran the Detroit Police Department. Of course there were issues during his tenure, including the revelation that there were untruthful officers on the force he wouldn’t fire. He also defended facial recognition technology despite concerns that it could misidentify Black people. He proudly defended the technology as important to public safety, even as it undermined the civil liberties of Detroiters.
An individual who isn’t prepared to meet all the crucial requirements of being a legitimate candidate for higher office should not be on the ballot. If Craig or any of the candidates currently facing a signature shortage failed to do their due diligence, they shouldn’t be on the ballot.
The candidates and those they delegated to gather signatures on their behalf are to blame for not meeting the standards for signature collection.
If their campaigns are this chaotic from the start, imagine how much of a mess their administration would be if they are elected.