Democrat Pat Miles launching run for attorney general

Jonathan Oosting
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Lansing — Former U.S. Attorney Pat Miles wants to be Michigan’s next attorney general and is set to formally launch his campaign for the Democratic nomination.

Miles is planning a series of campaign kick-off events Thursday in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Lansing and Detroit after filing paperwork last month to form a state candidate committee.

Former President Barack Obama appointed Miles as U.S. attorney for the Western District of Michigan in 2011, making him the first black American to hold the federal post. He voluntarily resigned in January as President Donald Trump took office.

Miles is the second Democrat to officially announce a run for attorney general, but the field could still grow in the run-up to next year’s state party convention, where delegates will decide the nominee for the general election ballot.

Attorney Dana Nessel, known for representing a same-sex couple in a lawsuit that helped overturn Michigan’s gay marriage ban, launched her campaign in August.

Miles graduated from Aquinas College and Harvard Law School, where he served as editor-in-chief of the Harvard Law Record and was a classmate with Obama, according to his campaign.

As a U.S. attorney, Miles won more than 100 convictions in cases involving sexual exploitation of children, his campaign said, and he helped put 31 members of the Holland Latin Kings gang behind bars.

Mark Totten, the Democrats’ 2014 nominee for attorney general, was among those encouraging Miles to run for the post, calling him a “top-shelf candidate.”

Miles previously worked as a private practice attorney for Dickinson Wright and ran for Congress in 2010, losing to Republican Rep. Justin Amash in the 3rd District general election.

On the Republican side, state Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker of Lawton is the first declared candidate seeking the party nomination to replace term-limited Attorney General Bill Schuette. State House Speaker Tom Leonard, R-DeWitt, is also considering a run.