Businessman Kevin Rinke launches campaign for Michigan governor

Posted at 10:38 AM, Nov 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-22 10:38:33-05

(WXYZ) — Republican Kevin Rinke, a former owner of Detroit-area car dealerships, launched his campaign for Michigan governor on Monday with TV and digital ads touting himself as a conservative outsider and criticizing Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Rinke is prepared to spend millions of his own money in the 2022 GOP primary, the winner of which will face the first-term Democratic governor. He led Rinke Automotive Group, which was founded by his family, before later helming a traumatic brain injury center, a health care company and becoming a private investor.

In a statement, Rinke said voters “want a leader to put at end to Gov. Whitmer’s assault on our values and our way of life.”

Rinke, who had previously formed a committee to explore a bid, is the 11th Republican in a field that includes former Detroit police chief James Craig, chiropractor Garrett Soldano and ex-conservative online news host Tudor Dixon.

Michigan Democratic Party spokesperson Rodericka Applewhaite said Rinke’s entrance into the race throws the “crowded primary of extremists into even more chaos. Rinke’s millions won’t save him from being held accountable by Michiganders on issues like infrastructure and the criminalization of abortion, which need to be addressed in order to keep our working families first.”

**Editor's note: A previous version of this story used the wrong name for Kevin Rinke. We regret the error and it has been corrected.