LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig, who was a leading GOP candidate for governor last year before fraudulent signatures on his paperwork derailed his campaign, is planning to enter the race for Michigan’s U.S. Senate seat, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Craig will join a growing field of GOP candidates trying to flip a seat that’s remained in Democratic control for over two decades. Former U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers announced a bid less than a month ago and several others, including former U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer, are still considering campaigns.
The people familiar with the matter spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity ahead of an official announcement scheduled for next week.
Craig is positioning himself to win the support of former President Donald Trump, who has often swung Republican primaries with his endorsement. He has supported Trump for president in 2024 and wrote in a column this month for the conservative Daily Caller that with Trump in the White House, “it was a proud time to be an American.”
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Rogers has been critical of Trump in the past and Meijer, who launched an exploratory committee last month, voted to impeach Trump in 2021 after rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol.
Michigan Republicans are vying to replace the U.S. Senate’s third-highest-ranking Democrat, Debbie Stabenow, who announced in January that she would retire after her fourth term. Michigan has long been considered a swing state where Republicans have had success in the past, but the party has not won a Michigan U.S. Senate race since 1994.
The GOP nominees for governor, attorney general and secretary of state in last year’s midterms were all endorsed by Trump but lost by massive margins in the general election to Democratic incumbents.
Third-term U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin leads a field of Democrats vying to replace Stabenow.
Craig spent eight years as the police chief of Michigan’s largest city before retiring in 2021 to pursue a run for governor. He was considered a favorite to win the GOP nomination in last year’s gubernatorial election before he and four other candidates were kept off the ballot after fraudulent signatures were found on their nominating petitions.
Three people have been charged with forgery and other crimes related to the phony petition signatures but no candidate was personally accused of knowingly submitting fraudulent petitions.
While Craig has no prior experience in elected office, he would have among the highest name recognition of the Michigan Senate candidates.
Craig is a native of Detroit, which lost Black representation in Congress in the midterms for the first time since the 1950s. If he wins next year, Craig will become one of four Black members of the Senate, joining Democrats Sens. Raphael Warnock of Georgia and Cory Booker of New Jersey as well as Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina.