Will this sheriff run for governor?

For everybody over the age of (fill in the blank), you’ll remember the old TV show “I’ve Got a Secret.”

Chris Swanson has a secret, but he’s not ready to admit it.

Chris who?

For you transplants from downstate, you may have seen him on the local news as the sheriff of Genesee County, and you are about to hear more about him in the coming months on two fronts.

First, he is the driving force behind legislation that would create a registry to bird-dog persons who abuse animals and would prevent them from purchasing any additional animals to abuse.

The hook is he and other law enforcement types believe that six out of 10 animal abusers eventually move up the food chain and abuse and murder humans. Think Jeffrey Dahmer and, closer to home, Ethan Crumbley, the 15-year-old who stands accused of killing four of his classmates at Oxford High School in Oakland County.

The sheriff has worked behind the scenes to line up support for the animal abuser registry from the top four legislative leaders from both sides of the aisle. It’s quite a get, and all but ensures that the proposal will get the legislative votes to place the issue on the statewide ballot in 2024 for you to decide.

Having the lawmakers do that will allow the coalition of animal lovers who are helping the sheriff to take the financial resources needed to collect petition signatures to get on the ballot and divert that into selling the measure after the state House and state Senate do the work for them to avoid the drive.

Now, to the rest of the story, as somebody once said.

While the sheriff is raising his visibility to keep tabs on animal abusers, he is building his own name ID statewide for an expected run for governor in 2026, after the current governor is term-limited out of office.

The charismatic Democrat will have to earn the nomination, as an open seat for governor will lure many would-be governors into the primary game for both parties.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is privately telling folks he will run. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is sending out the same vibrations, as is current Oakland County state Sen. Mallory McMorrow, just to name a few.

On his maiden appearance on “Off the Record” — which he labeled “a right of passage” — he was quite coy about his desire for the top job. He was very careful not to announce he was running but only that he “could” run when the time is right.

Truth be known, he’s been kicking that around for two years and even flirted with running for the job when a person named Gretchen Whitmer already had it. That certainly raised some eyebrows in this town but served to underscore that his potential bid for governor is no passing fancy. It’s real, and, while he has not said yes, everyone around here would be shocked if the answer turns out to be no.

For him, it’s first things first: He runs for sheriff again in 2024 and is proud of the fact that he has been the only Democrat in years to gain more crossover votes from the other party than anybody else, which would bode well when and if he runs for you know what.

He has the ballot issue to promote, and all the way you can bet your booties he will do all he has to do to win the Democratic nomination as he continues his little game of “I’ve got a secret.”


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