He was a member Michigan Territorial Council, 1828-31; member of Michigan Territorial Senate, 1834; member of Michigan Senate 3rd District, 1839-41; and also Presidential Elector for Michigan in 1840 to elect William Henry Harrison.
While serving as president pro tempore of the Michigan Senate, Drake served as Lieutenant Governor of Michigan from February 23, 1841 – January 3, 1842 under James Wright Gordon after the resignation of Governor William Woodbridge. Under the 1835 constitution, the lieutenant governor had no specifically defined duties other than presiding over the senate and as filling in as acting governor. He was also a Whig candidate for U.S. Representative from Michigan’s 3rd congressional district, 1843 losing to Democrat James B. Hunt.
Drake was later a delegate to Republican National Convention from Michigan, 1856 as well as Presidential Elector to elect John C. Fremont, who lost to James Buchanan. He served as justice of Utah Territorial Supreme Court, 1862-1869.
Drake died two days after his 78th birthday and is interred at Oak Hill Cemetery in Pontiac, Michigan.