Get to know Garlin Gilchrist II, Gretchen Whitmer's pick for Lt. Governor

Garlin Gilchrist II, Gretchen Whitmer’s reported choice as Democratic lt. governor this fall, narrowly lost a bid for Detroit City Clerk in 2017. He is considered a rising star in Democratic politics.

Related: Gretchen Whitmer projected winner in Michigan governor race
Related: Overnight, it’s a new Michigan. Women sweep to power in change election.​
Update: Gretchen Whitmer officially taps Garlin Gilchrist II as running mate

Get to know Garlin Gilchrist II

Never heard of Garlin Gilchrist II? If you live outside southeast Michigan, you’ve probably got company.

Here’s what you need to know about the 35-year-old who, as first reported by the Detroit Free Press on Sunday and confirmed Sunday evening by Bridge, is Democratic gubernatorial nominee Gretchen Whitmer’s choice as her running mate this fall.

Thumbnail: Gilchrist emerged from obscurity last year to run an aggressive campaign against Detroit Clerk Janice Winfrey, and nearly pulled it off. He was winning all night, but lost in a squeaker after absentee ballots were counted. Since February, he’s served as founding director of the University of Michigan’s Center for Social Media Responsibility, where he’s led studies about media consumption and tried to develop tools to fight so-called “fake news.”

Related: Bill Schuette picks Lisa Posthumus Lyons as running mate for Michigan governor

Bio: Gilchrist grew up in Detroit’s east side, lives in the city’s Corktown neighborhood and is married with young twins. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 2005 with degrees in computer engineering and computer science, and worked for Microsoft before helping run social  media for Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign in 2008. He ran national political campaigns for the liberal group in Washington D.C. before returning to Detroit in 2014 as director of innovation and emerging technology for Mayor Mike Duggan.

Why he helps Whitmer: A favorite among progressives, Gilchrist is a dynamic speaker who adds diversity and youth to Democrats’ all-female statewide ticket. As lt. governor, he could shore up support in southeast Michigan, where Democrats traditionally need large turnouts to win statewide elections. Gilchrist is supported by Duggan, who tried to recruit another Democrat into the race before endorsing Whitmer.

Why he may not help: Gilchrist isn’t well known outside Detroit. He lost his only run for office against a clerk, Winfrey, who was beset by scandal. Not a favorite of unions, has no legislative experience, and it’s uncertain whether he could energize voters in Detroit. (Turnout was still only 22 percent last year in Detroit, when Gilchrist got about 48,000 votes).

What you need to know: Gilchrist received glowing press during his run for clerk because he’s earnest and smart, and speaks passionately on the need for good government records and data and how streamlined voting can improve people’s lives and democracy. Some insiders had doubted he would accept a spot on the ticket because is believed to have higher political aspirations.

Who he beat out: Others under consideration by Whitmer were Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, state Rep. Sheldon Neeley of Flint and state Sen. Vincent Gregory.

Fun facts: Doesn’t own a car, relying instead on ride sharing. He’s really tall, 6 foot 8. Refers to himself on LinkedIn as a “servant, leader”

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Mary M
Sun, 08/19/2018 - 10:37pm

Did he accept corporate PAC money in 2017? Has he ever shown passion for any issues outside data and media - like criminal justice, environment, single-payer healthcare? How has he used his media tools to help with these very serious issues?

A 2.0
Mon, 08/20/2018 - 8:05am

Mary M wants to know if he's a Socialist.

Charles Gibson
Mon, 08/20/2018 - 3:57pm

A 2.0 : Unless you are a white male with unlimited amounts of $$$, the issues that Mary M asked about, are issues that all Michiganders should be concerned about.

A 2.0
Mon, 08/20/2018 - 6:06pm

If I were a white male with unlimited $$$ I would probably be voting for Schuette.
Either way I’m not expecting that Whitmer would select someone as a running mate that would be anything but a mainstream Democrat.
I know that will disappoint a lot of El-Sayed supporters but I hope they join me in voting for Whitmer to avoid a Schuette/Trump win.
I may be naive in the heart of the mitten but how often/how much do corporate PAC’s give money for a city clerk race?

Beulah Walker
Mon, 08/20/2018 - 6:27am

He gave not (1) single care about City of Detroit Elections Problems, until his Turn! No Thank you Period

Mon, 08/20/2018 - 5:46pm

We will put you down as a Schuette voter then.

Susan C
Mon, 08/20/2018 - 7:54am

After reading who else Whitmer was considering (seriously, Napoleon?) he looks to be the best on the list. But I still think #Abdul would bring more to the ticket.

Wed, 08/22/2018 - 5:34am

Abdul el-Sayed has a broader and higher vision for governance and leadership in Michigan. He's not lieutenant material. I worked on his campaign, and saw how well he stayed on message with his vision and platform. Serving under Whitmer might not be the best use of his time , his vision, his energy. He'd get stuck in the machinery. Abdul has a bright future in politics. As he said in his concession speech, "We punched way above our weight class".

Gretchen Davis
Mon, 08/20/2018 - 8:37am

After this last year, in both Michigan and national government, I don't find that much of a "downside" to a candidate that's young, educated, has no legislative experience, and is willing to run for office regardless. Gilchrist may not be well known to those of us who live in SW Michigan, but Gretchen Whitmer has the opportunity over the next couple months to get Gilchrist introduced to the entire state, if she's savvy enough to do it!

He needs to talk to people across the state, letting them know his hopes and dreams for the people living here in Michigan, and how he can work hand-in-hand with the Governor, and Legislature to make things work for the people who call Michigan home! Many of us who live across the state from Lansing and the Detroit area sometimes feel ignored because it's perceived to be "Republican Country". It's not!

There are many Independent voters here, as well as Democrats, and many Republican's who are disillusioned by what's happening in Lansing and Washington. After all that's happened since the 2016 elections, we are active in holding current politicians responsible for the woe's facing our state and nation! Get Gilchrist out on the road, and help inform ALL of Michigan that they have an important opportunity to change and improve the direction our great state takes in November!

Mon, 08/20/2018 - 11:12am

You're not holding Gretchen responsible by voting her into office.

Fred Jones III
Mon, 08/20/2018 - 9:29am

He's not Schuette. So that's a vote from me.

Mon, 08/20/2018 - 10:42am

“A fovorite among progressives.” If you want to really see what progressives bring to the table, look no further than Zimbabwe and South Africa. When the progressives took over Zimbabwe, 2 million people lost their jobs. Corruption reigned, and today the country has no national currency. The Zimbabwe currency is worthless, and will not trade on the world market. The US dollar is their national currency. There is about 70% unemployment, and don’t go out at night. South Africa is headed along the same path, with shanty towns all over the place, illegal aliens equal to 50% of the population in a lot of places. Electricity and water theft is the norm. Conditions are so bad in the shanties that if a fire starts, 5000 ‘homes’ burn before the fire can be put out. The progressives are promising everything free but delivering nothing. We all u derstand Cuba and Venezuela. I see signsofitdeveloping in the US with the millennial generation wanting government involvement in everything. In 50 years, we will be the like Venezuela, or Cuba, or Zimbabwe, or anyplace that lets progressives get a stronghold. If you like progressivism, live for a month in any of the aforementioned countries.

Charles Gibson
Mon, 08/20/2018 - 4:16pm

Republicans & conservatives want nothing more than to drag our country back to the 1920's where oppression of minorities ran wild. Dems want to move our country forward, as do your feared progressives do. You're trying to use delusional republican/conservative logic that if a progressive got into a high public office in America, our country will go down the tubes in 50 years. Just like Trump's fear and ignorance-mongering, yours is as an equally ridiculous scare tactic.

Mon, 08/20/2018 - 6:04pm

Can you not do better than this typical leftist accusation. This Republicans want to put minorities into chains!!! Who ran the Jim Crow South?? And as if living under Democrat ruled cities has been a paradise. We don't have to go to Zimbabwe, South Africa, Cuba and Venezuela, you guys also ran Detroit, Flint and Benton Harbor. Do you have any leftist paradises that you'd like to point out? Why is this? Don't go to the Europeans and Scandinavians - They aren't nearly what you'll claim.

John Q. Public
Mon, 08/20/2018 - 7:01pm

Corruption reigns in every government above the county level, and in most of them below; that's why government sinecures are so sought after even by the wealthy.

Oh, sometimes the overlords shine it up a bit by passing a "law" to give their thievery the cloak of legitimacy, but that's just perfume on a skunk. I've seen enough to realize politics is where honesty goes to die, and I don't care about the sex or ethnicity of the winners--only about whether I get to share in the loot somehow. I'm kind of embarrassed that it took me as long as it did to figure that out.

Mon, 08/20/2018 - 10:55pm

You have a real problem, dude. It's like you're some 1950's narrator trying to put a progressive peg into a socialism trope and you just can't manage it. Grow up.

Mon, 08/20/2018 - 11:10am

"Servant"? To who? BCBS like Whitmer?

Mon, 08/20/2018 - 11:47am

On your reporting: The University's web site says "Paul Resnick, Michael D Cohen Collegiate Professor of Information at the University of Michigan School of Information, founded the Center for Social Media Responsibility. "

Mon, 08/20/2018 - 4:18pm

His resume lists him as “founding director,” as the story indicates

Steve Nason
Mon, 08/20/2018 - 12:45pm

Seems like the kind of candidate who balances the ticket and could excite young progressive voters.

Kevin Grand
Mon, 08/20/2018 - 3:15pm

I really don't get why people focus so much on the LG side of the ticket?

Can anyone tell me (without looking it up online first) who the LG's were in both of the two previous elections?

Extra bonus round: Who were at the top of those tickets?

I'll wager that most people cannot. That's how much they truly matter.

The '18 Gubernatorial race will be determined solely upon the top of the ticket and how many people they can get out to vote.

The democrat party backed VNP proposal will only tip those results even further in their favor. If the democrat party backed Promote the Vote, MI One Fair Wage and MI Time to Care petitions are also approved, those democrat votes will only increase.

Even what happens at the conventions this weekend is immaterial with regards to that race, no matter how much they puff themselves up with their respective PR machines going full bore.

And looking at the numbers from just the Primary alone, Schuette better start working on his concession speech right for November about now.

Mon, 08/20/2018 - 6:27pm

Yeah, probably just enough time for the Gretch to ramp up spending to keep the MEA happy, start chasing out a bunch high (nondeductible) tax payers and burn up the rainy day fund before the next recession takes hold. Then all the still underfunded municipal pension dominoes start falling along with the drop in revenue and jump in social spending she'll want. The next five years could be very interesting and a lesson in being glad you don't get everything you want and nominate a piece of wood!

Kevin Grand
Tue, 08/21/2018 - 5:54am

I don't disagree with any of those predictions.

After Whitmer's election, we'll see yet another "lost decade" after she eviscerates Michigan Productive Class in order to placate those who still confuse the actual purpose of government with Santa Claus.

And just like in the 00's, Michigan republicans will quickly and easily acquiesce to her demands.

Just watch.

D Mulhen
Mon, 08/20/2018 - 5:18pm

So he grew up in "Detroit" but graduated from Farmington High? That's a lot like Mikey Moore who grew up in "Flint" but actually lived in Davison graduated from Davison High. Need to know a lot more about his involvement with George Soros and before seeing if he will balance BCBS Whitmer.

D Mulhen
Mon, 08/20/2018 - 5:18pm

So he grew up in "Detroit" but graduated from Farmington High? That's a lot like Mikey Moore who grew up in "Flint" but actually lived in Davison graduated from Davison High. Need to know a lot more about his involvement with George Soros and before seeing if he will balance BCBS Whitmer.

D Mulhen
Mon, 08/20/2018 - 5:18pm

So he grew up in "Detroit" but graduated from Farmington High? That's a lot like Mikey Moore who grew up in "Flint" but actually lived in Davison graduated from Davison High. Need to know a lot more about his involvement with George Soros and before seeing if he will balance BCBS Whitmer.

Mon, 08/20/2018 - 6:10pm

Why does anyone see him as a balancing factor? Exactly where is any disagreement between any of the democrats on anything? The only difference of opinion is how far to the left is it possible to push this state at this moment. Not what they like to see if it was possible.

Wed, 08/22/2018 - 9:33pm

It isn't about a lack of disagreement, it is about Party loyalty [that is/has been the only factor in Democrat candidates]. They haven't had an original thought in generations because it has been bred out of them. Whether look back to Granholm [her post since holding office has confirmed this] or look at Stabenow [all you see or hear of her is pictures behind Schumer ,saying nothing] or in ads parroting the Party line. Even Sanders said nothing about how he was treated by the DNC after the primaries, if he wants a political future he has to be Party loyal. Loyalty prevents change and kills hope for a better future.

The Republicans have little loyalty [look at all harping like Democrats at Trump], and that creates interest in what someone say or do next, this may create the possibility of change and stimulate a glimmer of hope.

Mon, 08/20/2018 - 5:44pm

It sounds like he may over shadow Whitmer on the campaign trail.

He seems rather new to the Michigan political scene, could this be setting him with up both name recognition, campaign experience with the issues, and building relationships for the next Senate of Governor race.

That use to be a common political practice for new unknowns that the Party likes.
Does anyone thinks this is about his future more than this election?

B G Evans
Mon, 08/20/2018 - 6:23pm

You should take a good look into Garlin Gilchrist...especially his time spent [hiding] in Grand Rapids around 2004 to 2007, working for a computer company called Whiznogy. Gilchrist is tech savvy yet has been unable to retain lengthy positions anywhere. This is more than likely due to tbe fact that his technical talents lean more to internet hacking and stealing intellectual property.
Whiznology claimed to be a computer company on Market Street in downtown Gd. Rapids, but was only manned by Gilchrist and Ivy Justice, of Gd. Rapids. The only computer work that was going on was their plagiarizing others work. Perhaps he helped to write a few speeches and started a forum or two to promote a good cause; but the real Garlin Gilchrist is a cyber criminal who has slithered his way out of the dark abyss of tbe World Wide Web and into the political spotlight.
Just mention Grand Rapids and see how he responds.

Jungle Gbobby /...
Thu, 11/08/2018 - 3:29am

That was a very positive powerful testimony and ambition, especially when he built confidence along his goals and never gave up. He is still very young. His positive and relentless ambitions will get him to a higher level of achievements.

He has a much brighter future ahead.

A. Watters
Tue, 08/11/2020 - 9:01am

The last thing we need is the token penis to take over now with the mess Big Ugly has made of her office. Dump the DemonRatz if you care about your kids future.

Blue Lake
Wed, 09/02/2020 - 2:49pm

How can someone who does not own a car know much about the state. Has he ever been across the bridge?