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James Craig announces write-in campaign

Russ McNamara / WDET

Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig is planning to run a write-in campaign for governor after his lawsuit to get put on the Republican primary ballot was dismissed.

He made the announcement Thursday night on Fox 2 Detroit.

He and other candidates fell victim to alleged signature fraud on their nominating petitions. That resulted in them not meeting the qualifying threshold.

Craig said he understands a write-in campaign will be a large uphill battle.

“I’m optimistic. A lot of my critics would say it’s foolish to even think. But I really feel strongly that when they denied us an opportunity to be put on the ballot, you’re denying Michigan voters,” Craig said in an interview Friday.

He said he decided to continue his campaign after receiving well wishes and texts of encouragement from supporters following his legal setbacks.

“For me, I think, what’s been helpful is just name ID,” Craig said. “So, I definitely, as a strategy, have to continue down that path.”

He pointed to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s write-in effort in 2013 as an example of a successful effort.

But experts like pollster Richard Czuba noted Duggan’s campaign was expensive.

Czuba said he’s not sure Craig has the organization or funding to keep up with the five candidates whose name will appear on the gubernatorial primary ballot.

“[It’s] hard enough to get people to vote for you but now he has the added task of getting them to write in your name. I think it’s going to take an extraordinarily large amount of money to pull both of those feats off,” Czuba said.

Beyond that, he said Craig will need to raise his profile beyond Southeast Michigan.

“Let’s see the money. Before we take this too seriously, let’s see what kinds of money he’s got to do it,” Czuba said.

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