The Wayne County Sheriff's job is still up for grabs.
With only a week to go before the Aug. 2 primary, a significant block of Democratic voters still don't know who they want for Wayne County sheriff, according to a poll released Tuesday by Target Insyght of Lansing.
The poll of 500 Democratic primary voters shows 24 percent favor the current Sheriff Raphael Washington while 18 percent say they want challenger Walter Epps and 12 percent, Joan Merriewether.
Undecided voters account for 46 percent.
In many cases, voters said they never heard of or had an no opinion of the candidates.
In Washington's case, the poll showed 53 percent said they never heard of him or had no opinion. As for Epps, 71 percent said that, and 82 percent had no opinion or never heard of Merriewether, which explains the large undecided vote, said Ed Sarpolus, executive director of Target Insyght.
"Because of the large undecided you obviously can't call the race," said Sarpolus.
Among white voters, 22 percent said they favored Epps while Washington and Merriewether both recorded 18 percent. Among Black voters, 32 percent favored Washington, 18 percent Epps and 6 percent Merriewether. The poll includes 52 percent whites, 39 percent Blacks and 9 percent of other races or ethnic backgrounds.
Washington, 61, was deputy chief of the department, when he was appointed sheriff early last year following the Covid death of Sheriff Benny Napoleon. Washington worked for the Detroit Police Department before joining the Sheriff's department.
Epps, 53, works for the Office of the Chief Financial Officer for Detroit. Merriweather, 62, is retired. She worked for the Detroit Police and Wayne County Sheriff's Department.
Because there's no Republican challenger, the winner of the primary will fill the remainder of Napoleon's term, which ends in 2024.