LANSING, Mich. — Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig is ending his Republican bid for an open U.S. Senate seat representing Michigan just over four months after launching his campaign, he told the Associated Press on Tuesday.

Election 2024 Michigan Senate

The Michigan U.S. senatorial campaign of James Craig had trouble gaining momentum. Paul Sancya/Associated Press

Craig was police chief in Portland, Maine, from 2009 to 2011.

Craig was seen as one of the more high-profile candidates to enter the race when he announced his campaign in October, and he had been angling to win the support of former President Donald Trump, who has often swung Republican primaries with his endorsement.

“This is strictly a business decision,” Craig told AP by phone. “I’m not leaving because I felt like I didn’t have the support. But from a business end, you need funds to run a campaign.”

Craig added that he is “strongly considering” running in Detroit’s mayoral election next year.

In addition to leading the police department in Michigan’s largest city for eight years, Craig was also a leading Republican candidate for governor in 2022 before fraudulent signatures on campaign paperwork derailed his campaign.


His senatorial campaign had trouble gaining momentum. According to the latest finance reports filed last month, Craig had raised only $60,581 by the end of 2023, well behind other Senate candidates.

Republicans are vying for a shot 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 U.S. Senate race since 1994.

Craig’s withdrawal thins a crowded GOP field that includes former U.S. Reps. Mike Rogers and Peter Meijer. Detroit-area businessman Sandy Pensler launched his second campaign for the Senate in December.

Rogers has led them in fundraising, bringing in close to $2 million since announcing his campaign in September. Rogers said in a statement following Craig’s announcement that he’d seek the former police chief’s “counsel on how we can work together to bring a brighter and safer future for all Michiganders.”

On the Democratic side, U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin is considered the favorite to win the nomination and has dominated other candidates in fundraising — bringing in $11.7 million between her campaign launch in February 2023 until the end of that year.

Craig retired as Detroit police chief in 2021 to run for governor. He had been considered a favorite in that 2022 election, but he and four others were kept off the ballot due to the fraudulent signatures on nominating petitions.

Three people have been charged with forgery and other crimes related to the signatures, but no candidate was personally accused of knowingly submitting fraudulent petitions.

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