Detroit – The polls have opened in Detroit and it’s game on as mayoral candidate’s Mike Duggan and Benny Napoleon battle it out in one of the most hotly contested mayoral races in the nation. The history-making election follows a string of political fails in Detroit, including; the conviction of former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, the Detroit bankruptcy and appointment of emergency manager, Kevyn Orr. And in a spectacular never-before-seen feat in the region, Mike Duggan pulled his candidacy from apparent obliteration with a write-in campaign to have his name added to the ballot after the question of residency all but eliminated him from running.
The front-runner, Mike Duggan, took the Detroit Medical Center from near-insolvency and the threat of mass layoffs to reinvestment and profitability. If elected, he would be the city’s first white mayor in four decades. Duggan, the front-runner is credited with taking the Detroit Medical Center from near-insolvency and the threat of mass layoffs to reinvestment and profitability.
His opponent Benny Napoleon, currently heading the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department, and a former City of Detroit police chief under the Dennis Archer administration is best equipped according to many to address the city’s standout issue – public safety. He was a tough cop who understood how to tackle crime. Napoleon, widely regarded as the people’s candidate is a son of the city and promises to be sensitive the needs of those who have been disenfranchised by local government.
But a recent poll of voters indicate that Mike Duggan’s commanding lead over rival Benny Napoleon hasn’t budged, with the former Detroit Medical Center chief favored by voters nearly 2-1 over the Wayne County sheriff, an exclusive Detroit Free Press/WXYZ-TV poll out Monday, Nov. 4 shows.
Duggan would take 50 percent of the vote compared to 26 percent for Napoleon, and among voters who said they had already voted by absentee ballot, Duggan’s lead was even higher — 52 percent to 26 percent, according to the poll of 400 likely city voters conducted Oct. 24-26 by Lansing-based EPIC-MRA.
A low voter turn-out will adversely affect the Napoleon campaign and diminish his chance of being elected mayor.
While both of these very accomplished candidates have played down the race issue, there has been no shortage of racial commentary surrounding both campaigns for the obvious reasons, Detroit has been a majority black city for decades now and has not had a white mayor in four decades.
“We don’t need a campaign about race, we don’t need one that talks about ethnicity: We don’t need to talk about anything other than who is qualified to really get this city out of debt, so we can move forward,” says the Rev. Jim Holley of the Historic Little Rock Baptist Church in Detroit. “We don’t need a campaign about race, we don’t need one that talks about ethnicity: We don’t need to talk about anything other than who is qualified to really get this city out of debt so we can move forward,” says the Rev. Jim Holley of the Historic Little Rock Baptist Church in Detroit.
Stay tuned to michiganchronicle.com throughout the day for continued coverage of Detroit’s mayoral race