Mayor Mike Duggan and state Sen. Coleman Young are almost certain to win Tuesday's primary race and face off in November.
Polls point to Duggan as the ultimate victor. Young has a big hurdle ahead.
Supporters argue that Duggan’s leadership has been instrumental in the revitalizing downtown and Midtown Detroit while improving services around the city. Critics say he was handed a city in far better shape than other mayors have had to deal with. They also say he hasn't done enough to help the neighborhoods.
Young entered the race trying to capitalize on his father's legacy as the first African-American mayor of Detroit. He's tried to focus on neighborhoods and the poor. But much to his chagrin, many of his father's supporters have endorsed Duggan.
To get a better understanding of the candidates and their campaigns, Deadline Detroit spoke to pollster Ed Sarpolus, founder and executive director of Target-Insyght, and Steve Hood, political analyst and host of “Wake Up” on 910 AM Radio.
Deadline Detroit: What do you think about Young’s chances?
Sarpolus: The issue to me is that Coleman Young needs more visible support, I’ve known Coleman for a long time and he does have some some good ideas for the city. But he doesn’t have the resources to compete with Duggan, specifically money.
It's not a level playing [field] and if he is going to win he needs more exposure.
DD: Can anything seriously hurt Duggan’s chances?
Sarpolus: The issue with the blight projects and demolition contracts can have a negative impact on Duggan and any legal action that becomes public can hurt him, problems with the unions, etc.
Hood: He won’t win the primary, but the question is how much of the vote will Duggan get. Will it be 51% or 60%? That will be a huge indicator of Young’s chances in the general election.
DD: Why is no other candidate gaining much traction?
Sarpolus: Detroit is a very large city, over 125,000 people vote in the primary. How do you get to talk to all of those people? Other people running simply do not have the resources or finances to compete and reach all of those people.
Duggan started his campaign a year in advance before he was elected and had been part of the community for over 30 years working as a prosecutor and being involved with business dealings.
Coleman Young and the other candidates do not have the political machine like the one Duggan possesses, nor the exposure.
Hood: Edward Dean should be getting more traction. He has some great ideas but he hasn’t been able to get the exposure that he needs to make a dent in the polls.
DD: Do you think Young’s race will be an issue?
Sarpolus: No, it won’t. Detroit is a very diverse city and they have voted for both white and black candidates in the past. Detroit is much more diverse than the general public realizes. The biggest key issue for Coleman Young in this race will be about resources.
Hood: Coleman’s race and his name are the only thing driving his campaign forward right now, he needs a more workable plan. He doesn’t have the experience or the plan right now to seriously compete in this election.
DD: What in particular have you noticed about this election thus far that has caught your attention?
Hood: Quiet! It is very quiet, nobody has really defined each other, Duggan now is just campaigning off of lawn signs and social media. The Duggan campaign wants a lower voter turnout and this explains why they have been so quiet. In 2013, there were roughly 35, 000 absentee ballots and this time there is somewhere between 25,000 to 27,000.
DD: You made recent Facebook comments about Young’s campaign finance reports. Could you explain?
Hood: Young’s campaign has only raised $22,000. And of that, $15,000 has gone to the consultant Adolph Mongo. That is reprehensible, something is not right there and it shows a weakness in the campaign.