Gretchen Whitmer Names Detroit Native Garlin Gilchrist II as Running Mate

The progressive Democrat says he would bring a different kind of experience to state government.

Cheyna Roth/MPRN

A native Detroiter and one-time candidate for the city’s clerkship will be on the November 2018 ballot. Democratic candidate for governor, Gretchen Whitmer named Garlin Gilchrist II as her running mate Monday.

Gilchrist brings gender diversity to what will likely be an otherwise all-female top of the ticket. He’s also the only African American among the likely Democratic candidates for attorney general, secretary of state, U.S. Senate, and governor.

Candidates for lieutenant governor, attorney general, and secretary of state will be formally nominated at a party convention later this week.

Gilchrist is already being criticized for lack of experience in the Legislature, but Whitmer said Gilchrist has the right priorities.

“I have more experience than the last two governors combined,” she said. “Experience is not a problem in state government. What is a problem right now is we don’t have people who know how to get things done.”

A former director of Innovation and Emerging Technology for the city of Detroit, Gilchrist also served as the Social Media Manager for the 2008 President Barack Obama campaign. The progressive Democrat says he would bring a different kind of experience to state government.

“My career has been all about creating systems that work for people,” Gilchrist said. “Whether that’s fixing government systems like I did in the city of Detroit. But also being able to create technology that’s accessible to people and to fix things, and that’s what we’re really focused on.”

Whitmer’s Republican opponent, Bill Schuette, chose former state Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons (R-Alto) for his running mate last week.


  • Cheyna Roth

    Cheyna has interned with Michigan Radio and freelanced for WKAR public radio in Lansing. She's also done some online freelancing and worked on documentary films.