Detroit Dodger: Five Questions for James Craig About His Silent “Listening Tour”

LANSING — This week, Republican gubernatorial candidate James Craig attempted to downplay the extent of a “listening tour” he’s been talking about since before the initial rollout of his campaign in July. After the Detroit Free Press reported that “the tour apparently never materialized,” a campaign spokesperson claimed Craig “has been traveling the state for several weeks” and conceded no evidence of him actually meeting with Michiganders was ever made public.

To recap, how this “listening tour” ended up shaking out could not be further from how it has been characterized by the Detroit Dodger multiple times. 

  • Fox News: Craig said he was “encouraged” as he continued what he called “listening sessions.” “Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig…said in an interview with Fox News that he’s ‘encouraged’ as he continues what he calls ‘the listening sessions.’” [Fox News, 6/23/21]
  • MLive: In a campaign statement, Craig “said he was embarking on the listening tour to hear from Michigan residents.” “In a statement, he said he was embarking on the listening tour to hear from Michigan residents. ‘I led as Chief of Police – and began my life – on the streets of Detroit. Now it is time to travel the state, and visit other communities.’ Craig said.” [MLive, 7/21/21]
  • Bridge Michigan: “Craig announced he will embark on a listening tour this summer.” “Republican Craig announced he will embark on a listening tour this summer to ‘gain a greater understanding of each other as we prepare for the formal launch of the campaign this fall.’” [Bridge Michigan, 7/21/21]
  • Washington Examiner: Craig “said he is spending his time traveling to all corners of the state.” “Craig […] said he is spending his time traveling to all corners of the state, in particular to its forgotten poor urban neighborhoods and rural enclaves — places whose needs and problems are often overlooked.” [Washington Examiner, 8/23/21]
  • MLive: Craig said “he plans to travel the state and learn more about key issues.” “Voters can expect some clarity in two weeks, Craig said, but for now he plans to travel the state and learn more about key issues.” [MLive, 8/23/21]

These comments naturally lend themselves to the following questions Michiganders expect James Craig to answer plainly:

  • For two months, Craig had been speaking as if a listening tour was already in progress. Then in late-August, according to MLive, he said he “plans to travel” across Michigan to learn about the issues. Which is it?
  • Even if it is assumed that this “tour” actually did take place, why was it done in secret instead of open to the public?
  • Where did Craig go in Michigan specifically and who did he meet with?
  • How many stops have there been on the tour and why have they brought Craig no closer to giving clear answers on any of the issues that Michiganders care about? Were they not effective?
  • Why were the press only invited to observe a single roundtable, one that was billed by the campaign as their first of this type of event?

MDP spokesperson Rodericka Applewhaite released the following statement:

“Where I come from, folks would say this math isn’t mathing. For James Craig — who only a fraction of Michiganders know enough about to form an opinion — to not document any of these ‘listening sessions’ that allegedly took place over the past two months raises a number of questions about how much he really has traveled the state. Between the repeated refusal to answer any questions on issues to his secret ‘listening tour,’this campaign to lead Michigan is going through bizarre and unprecedented lengths to avoid actually interacting with Michiganders.”

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