James Craig campaign launch pivots after protestors disrupt Belle Isle event

Posted at 5:24 PM, Sep 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-14 17:24:39-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Today was the day James Craig would formally announce he’s running for Michigan Governor.

Detroit will Breathe announced over the weekend on Twitter they would be out to protest. The showdown happened on Belle Isle.

The party crashers forced the retired police chief off the island.

“Hey hey, ho ho, James Craig has got to go,” is one of the chants about three dozen protesters shouted.

This was not the launch James Craig wanted. I’ve been doing news in Michigan for 38 years and 48 years total. I’ve never seen anything like this in a race for statewide office.

Craig took to his podium briefly to say, “I’ve got one thing to say. I’m running for Governor. I’m running for Governor of the state of Michigan.”

He was then escorted to a waiting SUV and driven away.

His campaign Communications Director Ted Goodman was left behind and I had this exchange with him:

Goodman: Be a few minutes here.
Kiertzner: He’s coming back?
Goodman: I can’t answer at the moment for security reasons. But we’re ah, moving along with our day here.

They got permission to use an 8th-floor balcony in the former General Motors UAW Training Center across the Detroit River for Craig’s event and have the Detroit skyline in the background.

Craig called the protesters sad and disappointing adding, “I know who they are. They know I know who they are. And they do not speak for most Detroiters. I feel like they were being paid. I don’t have any hard evidence. But I feel like they were being paid.”

On to the campaign, James Craig says masks in schools and vaccinations should be a matter of choice for parents and everyone saying, “What are we becoming making mandates? Making mandates to get vaccinated? Are we becoming Socialists, Communists?”

James Craig calls himself a political outsider but likes his chances with outstate voters.

“I will resonate with those folks up north or on the west because I’m authentic, I’m a leader and I’m blue-collar. I know what hard work means. Nobody’s ever given me anything.”

Craig was asked if fixing Michigan roads is a priority as Governor Gretchen Whitmer made that her campaign theme in 2018.

Craig said, “I didn’t say that’s one of my priorities. I do think the roads need to be fixed.”

Craig said MDOT and the Great Lakes Water Authority need to address power outages during heavy rain causing cars to get stranded on metro Detroit freeways.