Mayor Race in a Vacuum

This would have been a rootin', tootin' mayoral election in Detroit, if the city wasn't bankrupt. Or under an emergency manager. Or still stinging from Kwame Kilpatrick news coverage.

This could have been a doozy.

Instead, it begs the question, "What if they gave an election and nobody showed up?"

Of course there will be voters. The die hards will show up next Tuesday and choose between, mostly, Mike Duggan and Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon.

But the "they" I am referring to in the above rhetorical query is the media.

They haven't bothered thus far, so it makes one wonder if they'll take an interest at all.

It doesn't help that Duggan leads Napoleon by as much as a 2-1 margin, if you believe pollsters.

This was one election I was looking forward to in Detroit, for a change. The mayor's race hasn't been all that compelling since 1973, when Coleman Young became the city's first black mayor.

But here came Duggan, a white man with a plan. They tried like mad to keep him off the ballot, and they did---temporarily, due to a technicality about when he officially moved back into the city proper. Remember when Duggan pulled out of the race last spring?

His supporters urged him not to give up the ship. They said that a write-in candidacy for the primary was an option.

So Duggan scrambled and re-entered the race as a write-in option. Then he proceeded to kick the living daylights out of Napoleon and everyone else in the field---including Tom Barrow, who was most afraid of Duggan, and with good reason, as it turned out.

Now Duggan is a full-fledged candidate and he is again running away with things.

Not that you'd know that without some persistent searching for coverage of the race.

This is a white man on the verge of becoming mayor of Detroit---something that hasn't been the case since December 31, 1973---and by a potential landslide. This should be big doings.

But emergency manager Kevyn Orr, the city's plea for bankruptcy and even Gov. Rick Snyder are overshadowing the mayor's race.

It all adds up to, likely, yet another low voter turnout on November 5.

The race could still tighten in the next five days, but Duggan's control seems solid. Overcoming a 2-1 margin isn't exactly filled with precedence when you have less than a week to do so, even if you're running for dog catcher.

But that's the story---Duggan's potential margin of victory. It's not just that Detroit is about to elect a white mayor. It's that its about to do so in a landslide.

For the record, I had Duggan in my crosshairs from the get go. I bet my dear mother way back last spring that the former CEO of the DMC was going to pull it off. It looked bleak for me when Duggan got knocked off the official ballot.

Duggan: Cruising to victory?

But his and his supporters' grassroots efforts paid big time dividends in the August primary, and Duggan has appeared to have ridden that momentum straight through to the general election with flying colors, no pun intended.

Mike Duggan, your next mayor of the City of Detroit? Probably. He has the endorsements of both major newspapers, and recent debates where Napoleon has been able to take his best shots haven't cut into Duggan's big lead. Maybe it's because Napoleon can come off looking nervous and unsteady in front of the camera, as he did in one of the debates that I saw.

Napoleon's questionable budget management while sheriff hasn't helped him. And Benny hasn't been able to successfully link Duggan with the old Ed McNamara political machine, thus branding Duggan as a fat cat elitist with friends in high places.

Mike Duggan, it says here, is going to become the first white mayor of Detroit in 40 years. Easily.

It's one of the biggest stories to be buried around here in a long time.


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