Michigan State Police commander joins GOP race for governor

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Lansing — Michael Brown, a 56-year-old commander within the Michigan State Police, said Friday he will seek the Republican nomination for governor in 2022.

In a video released by his campaign, Brown said he has devoted 33 years to removing drugs off the street and reducing violent crime. He described himself as a former Berrien County commissioner and a "country boy at heart."

Michael Brown

We're offering a great deal on all-access subscriptions. Check it out here.

"I am running for governor because this great state of Michigan is going entirely in the wrong direction," Brown said in the video. "You've seen this firsthand with the ridiculous shutdowns that have destroyed lives and the dreams of so many of our citizens."

Brown is currently the commander of the Michigan State Police's Southwest Michigan District, according to his announcement. He and his wife, Lori, live in Stevensville.

He joins former Detroit Police Chief James Craig in the potential field seeking the GOP nomination. Many Republicans view Craig, who has been a frequent guest on Fox News and has gained supporters in Southeast Michigan because of his past law enforcement role, as the early favorite to win. But Craig hasn't fully committed to running yet.

Brown's announcement referred to the new entry by the nickname "Captain Mike."

"He has excelled in some of the most demanding and dangerous positions including as a narcotics team leader," the statement said. "Captain Mike has had a front row seat to the incompetence of (Democratic Gov. Gretchen) Whitmer and the failed bureaucrats taking Michigan in the wrong direction."

So far, Craig is one of eight Republicans — not including Brown — who have formed campaign committees that allow them to raise money for their gubernatorial bids. Tudor Dixon, a conservative commentator from Norton Shores, and Garrett Soldano, a chiropractor from Mattawan, are also in the race.

Whitmer is expected to seek reelection. The GOP nominee will be chosen by Republican primary voters in August 2022.

The Michigan Democratic Party used Brown's announcement to target Craig in a statement on Friday morning.

"Opponent criticisms of his sham candidacy will only grow with each day party insiders keep their thumbs on the scales in his favor," Lavora Barnes, chairwoman of the Michigan Democratic Party, said of Craig. "Who’s to blame Republicans like Mike Brown for seeing an opening in a race against a supposed ‘front runner’ that continues to hide from Michiganders and local press?"

cmauger@detroitnews.com