Gubernatorial Candidates Stand Out at GOP Mackinac Conference
The premier Republican policy event in the Midwest wrapped up Sunday on Mackinac Island.
The crowd included several looking to make a name for themselves, in the race for the state’s top spot.
“That’s all I heard this weekend, we want a leader that can get it done in an ethical way,” said James Craig, candidate for the GOP nomination, “And I’m excited.”
Coming out of the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference, the mantra was about beating the Democrats in 2022. But first, candidates have to beat each other.
“The voters are going to have to evaluate all the candidates,” said Michael Brown, gubernatorial candidate.
Twelve candidates have declared for the race for the state’s top spot.
“Heading into a primary, this is not about fighting with other conservatives,” said Craig, “I want everyone to line up with James Craig so that we can get this done.”
That’s easy to say when you are leading the race. A Detroit News straw poll from the island shows Craig with a significant lead over the other candidates with almost a year to go until Primary Day.
“There’s still a lot of work to do but certainly it sends a clear message on the direction that we’re going is the right one,” said Craig.
This weekend was a chance for the others to catch up. Garrett Saldano was one of the first candidates to jump in and he chose to skip the island altogether, to hold his own rally in Antrim County. Everyone else made sure to be on Mackinac to bump elbows.
“My campaign is really about respecting the liberty of the citizens and letting them live their lives,” said Brown, “But we have so many issues that need addressing.”
Others used the event to introduce themselves.
“As a CEO, I want responsibility. I want to know that our tax money, that there’s a return on it,” said Donna Brandenburg, “Right now it just seems like everything is being dumped into a black hole and there’s no accountability where anything goes.”
Whoever wins the nomination will have an uphill battle, Michigan historically elects incumbents. It’s been 60 years since the state had a one-term leader.
“We have a very unique situation, COVID has changed the entire world so we have an opportunity to come at the state and say we’re going to take it back,” said candidate Tudor Dixon, “This year is different than any other incumbent election.”
The GOP candidates will face off in the Primary election in August 2022, before the nominee faces Governor Gretchen Whitmer in November 2022.