Ex-Chief James Craig forms exploratory committee for Michigan gubernatorial run

Detroit's former police chief James Craig says he is opening an exploratory committee into a run for governor in Michigan

In both a video posted on YouTube and a press release that was sent early Wednesday morning, Craig confirmed rumors about an interest in a run for Michigan's top political office. 

Forming an exploratory committee is a common first official step that prospective political candidates take when considering a run for office. It also enables a candidate to begin fundraising for a run for office. A formal announcement for governor will likely come after Labor Day, the release also said.

"What's this about?" he asks in the video after talking about his work during the civil unrest last summer. "I'm opening an exploratory committee to help me think about a run for governor in the state of Michigan."

The video, titled ‘Leading from the Front,’ was posted online Wednesday morning.

FOX 2 has also confirmed that Craig plans to make an appearance on Tucker Carlson tonight where he will make an announcement. 

RELATED: What Craig said during his first political speech in Jackson

Craig had hinted about a major announcement during a TV interview last week. He's also made two political speeches in recent weeks while rumors have continued circulating since his retirement from the Detroit police force. 

"I led as Chief of Police - and began my life - on the streets of Detroit," read a statement from the release. "Now it is time to travel the state, and visit other communities. I will be talking with law enforcement, hosting small business roundtables, and meeting with voters in their homes to hear about the negative impact the current Governor’s policies are having on their communities, their workplaces, and their families."

RELATED: What do insiders think of a James Craig run for governor?

He also criticized policy decisions by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, referencing several talking points among the Republican officials, including an incident last year regarding Whitmer's boat, a flight to Florida to see her dad earlier this year, and attending a bar in East Lansing after recommending people avoid gatherings. 

The Michigan Democratic Party didn't wait long to respond to the announcement, calling Craig a "serial question-dodger" and a "textbook politician."

"James Craig is just another politician that thinks he can get through this messy and crowded GOP field of far-right extremists without any accountability on his stances -- clinging to this non-existent ‘exploratory’ status is just the latest of his question-dodging tactics. He should immediately explain to voters why he’s for guns in schools and has looked the other way on violent militia uprisings in Washington and Lansing," read a statement from party Chair Lavora Barnes.

So far, seven other candidates have announced plans to run for the nomination. They include Tudor Dixon who is a conservative cable TV commentator, Garrett Soldano, a Kalamazoo chiropractor, Austin Chenge, a west Michigan businessman and army veteran, Ralph Rebandt, a pastor in Oakland County, Bob Scott, a Livingston County teacher, and Ryan Kelley, an Ottawa County real estate agent, and Articia Bomer.