Jun 7, 2022 - Politics

What could be next for James Craig

Illustration of the classified section of the newspaper with every posting circled in red
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

James Craig's future is suddenly in doubt after his latest effort to get on the August primary ballot failed last week.

Why it matters: Craig's prospects are plentiful thanks to a unique career in law enforcement, leadership and even entertainment.

Yes, but: He hasn't given up on his gubernatorial campaign yet. A spokesperson tells Axios it is "a little premature to discuss the next steps as we are still sorting through what's currently in front of us."

The intrigue: Despite a calamitous run for governor, Craig remains a fascinating candidate as a Black Republican with an extensive law enforcement background and strong local name recognition.

  • Axios talked to political insiders about Craig's potential options. Here are some possibilities:

Lower office: Jonathan Kinloch, chair of the 13th Congressional District Democratic Party, says Craig was in line to be Detroit's next mayor before running as a Republican for governor. Many in the city previously thought he was a Democrat.

  • "I don't see any pathways for him to garner an elected position in Detroit or Wayne County," says Kinloch, who is also a Wayne County commissioner.
  • "Even if Mayor [Mike] Duggan eventually steps aside, Craig's once-possible political career in Detroit is over, but he could likely win a Republican legislative seat should he decide to move," says John Sellek, CEO of Lansing-based PR firm Harbor Strategic.

Media personality: "He's got a pension. He can do whatever he wants," says political strategist Andrea Bitely I'm betting Craig writes a book about his journey in law enforcement and moves to Florida. A book, even if it's bad, will keep him on Fox News."

Law enforcement consultant: While working in Los Angeles, Craig was mentored by William Bratton, the former LAPD chief who parlayed his law enforcement experience into a career as a private consultant.

  • Consultancy could be a natural home for Craig — his public safety resume isn't spotless and his run for governor could complicate any immediate interest in being a big city police chief again.

Acting coach: If politics or policing don't work out, Craig could get back into entertainment. His nickname is "Hollywood Craig" for a reason.

  • Actor Denzel Washington credited a 1990s ridealong with Craig for preparing him for police roles in "Ricochet" and "The Little Things."
  • "When he is playing the LAPD cop, there are things he says he got directly from me," Craig told Fox 2 Detroit last year. "It's almost like he was playing me."
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