After going back and forth on a potential mayoral bid in Detroit, former gubernatorial candidate Shri Thanedar appears to have set his sights on representing the city in the state House.
The millionaire chemist and businessman has formed a committee to run for Michigan's 3rd State House District, which covers the Palmer Woods neighborhood where he recently moved. The seat will be open in 2020, when term limits force out Rep. Wendell Byrd, a Democrat first elected in 2014.
When reached phone Monday, Thanedar said he was "seriously exploring the possibility" of a run in the Detroit district. He formed the committee Aug. 15, according to a filing with the Secretary of State.
Thanedar was the top vote-getter in Detroit during last year's Democratic gubernatorial primary. He came in last place in the state to now-Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and former Detroit health director Abdul El-Sayed.
Raised in poverty in his native India, Thanedar has previously said he feels a strong connection to Detroit and wants to serve the city in some capacity.
“I understand [Detroiters’] struggle. I have been in their shoes,” he said in a May interview with Deadline Detroit. “I’m happy to see the prosperity in downtown, but that needs to spread and we need to give hope and opportunity for all — improving the quality of life for the average Detroiter in terms of health care, jobs, skills training."
Thanedar poured nearly $11 million of his own money into the gubernatorial race, running on a progressive, Bernie Sanders-style platform. But critics called his ethics into question. They pointed to past campaign contributions and praise for Republicans as well as a reported meeting with strategists to determine whether he should run as a Democrat or Republican. Thanedar also didn’t seem to understand the concept of single-payer health care, though it was a key component of his campaign.
In the 3rd District — which runs from Eight Mile to McNichols and Livernois to Gratiot — Thanedar said he would focus on creating economic opportunity. He stressed restoring to productive use the long-idling state fair grounds on Woodward and noted that black-owned businesses along Livernois are struggling to stay open amid a city road construction project.