Detroit Mayoral Candidates Look for Votes After Contentious Debate

Quinn Klinefelter/WDET

Questions over crime, race and improving impoverished neighborhoods took center stage during a contentious debate between the city’s mayoral candidates.

First-term incumbent Mike Duggan and his challenger, state Senator Coleman Young II both say they want to spread the investment in Detroit’s thriving downtown to all of the city’s neighborhoods.

Duggan says companies are moving to Detroit, not the suburbs, while the city helps residents learn new job skills.

Sascha Raiyn

But Young counters that Duggan is ignoring the needs of the poorest Detroiters and concentrating on wooing big-money investors.

The state senator also repeatedly charged that Dugan’s televised response to concerns over his selection of certain firms to perform demolition work amounts to an acknowledgement of bid-rigging.

Well I don’t think it was personal, I think it’s something that he admitted to,” Young says. “What am I supposed to believe, him or my own lying eyes and ears? I mean this is something that he went on television and admitted to. These are just facts. This isn’t personal attacks, this is truth versus fiction.”

Duggan flatly denies the accusation, saying the federal government would not have restored funding for demolitions if officials feared his administration was involved in any wrongdoing.  

Quinn Klinefelter/WDET

But Duggan says the comment is one reason why he agreed to only a single debate.

Just look at the behavior,” Duggan says. “Four years ago I ran against a man I admire very much, Benny Napoleon, who debate after debate laid out many of the things which I’ve actually incorporated into the administration. But this is all just a bunch of nasty personal attacks and made up stuff. And I didn’t see the point of doing it more than once. I figured the public would get the idea after one of these.”

Young disagrees.

He says Duggan is falsely accusing him of doing little as a state senator to aid Detroit in Lansing.

Young also calls holding only one mayoral debate “disrespectful” to voters.   

Image credit: Quinn Klinefelter/WDET

This post is a part of 2017 Local Elections: How’s metro Detroit doing?.

This series includes WDET's coverage of candidates' in local elections -- including Detroit's mayoral, clerk and council races.

About the Author

Quinn Klinefelter

Senior News Editor

I grab news in the morning, check the papers and the wires, call sources and take a big gulp of coffee. That’s how I start the day.  

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