Former U.S. Attorney backs independent candidate for Mich. attorney general

Editor's note: Vanguard President and CEO TJ Bucholz comments Christopher Graveline's bid for Michigan Attorney General.

A former federal prosecutor is collecting signatures to get on the Michigan ballot as an independent candidate for state attorney general, and his long-shot bid has the backing of former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, a prominent Democrat.

Christopher Graveline, a Bay City native and former U.S. Army prosecutor, until recently headed the violent and organized crime unit in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit, where he prosecuted gang members and says the work of his unit deserves some credit for a drop in the Detroit murder rate.

Graveline, 45, who, by law, had to quit his federal job when he began his campaign in early June, has until July 19 to collect 30,000 valid signatures. If he gets on the ballot, his candidacy poses a potential problem for Plymouth attorney Dana Nessel, the expected Democratic nominee.

McQuade told the Free Press on Tuesday her support for Graveline's candidacy is in no way a continuation of an earlier and bruising fight over the Democratic Party’s endorsement for AG, in which former U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles — backed by McQuade as well as the UAW — lost out to Nessel in April.

T.J. Bucholz, president and CEO of Lansing-based Vanguard Public Affairs, said Miles was a client of his firm but with the party's endorsement decided, he is now solidly behind Nessel.

"I would imagine there is some uncomfortability with Democrats supporting an independent at this stage in the game, especially with this scenario — a real long shot," Bucholz said Tuesday.

If he does make the ballot, "he would likely draw more votes from the Democratic candidate, from Dana Nessel, which would complicate things for her," Bucholz said.

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