This November, Detroiters will vote in a new mayor. But debate between the two candidates probably won’t happen.
Mayor Mike Duggan, who is seeking his third term in office, says he will not debate his challenger Anthony Adams in the November municipal election. Duggan says his campaign is different this time around.
“Anthony Adams’ campaign has been 100% hate and divisiveness, and I’m not going to give a platform to that kind of hate.” —Mayor Mike Duggan
“Eight years ago, I debated Benny Napoleon. Four years ago, I debated Senator Coleman Young. But Anthony Adams’ campaign has been 100% hate and divisiveness, and I’m not going to give a platform to that kind of hate,” he says.
Duggan won the August mayoral primary in a landslide, earning nearly 73% of the vote. Turnout was low — about 14% of eligible voters turned in their ballots.
Adams, a deputy mayor during the Kilpatrick administration who also worked as an executive assistant to Mayor Coleman Young, won about 10% of the primary vote in August.
“He’s denying the most basic aspect of democracy, which is the right to stand before the voters of the city of Detroit and to defend your record,” says Adams. “I’m not surprised by it. He’s scared because that’s the kind of guy that he is.”
Adams says the campaigns discussed four debates ahead of Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 2.
“He’s thin-skinned. And quite frankly, he’s a coward,” he adds.
Adams believes Duggan is deflecting from his administration’s records on tax foreclosure, crime and recent flooding.
“He’s denying the most basic aspect of democracy, which is the right to stand before the voters of the city of Detroit and to defend your record.” —Anthony Adams
“This guy is a classic closet Republican,” Adams says. “He needs to come out from behind the closet, take his sheets off and tell us what he is.”
Former Detroit police chief James Craig recently announced his candidacy for governor as a Republican. Craig was appointed by Duggan to serve as his deputy mayor in 2016, and the two worked together for more than seven years.
“Everybody in our administration is supporting Gretchen Whitmer for governor, so that’s not complicated,” Duggan says. “From now through next year, we’re not going to discuss the Republican nomination.”
A dark money group connected to Duggan has turned its focus toward the mayoral race. The ads were purchased by a nonprofit called Our Neighborhoods First. The group surfaced in support of Proposal N, the $250 million bond sale for home demolitions Detroiters approved last year, an effort supported by Duggan. Now, the group is buying attack ads on social media against Anthony Adams.
“I don’t need to hide behind dark money. I don’t need to hide behind secret money from groups that are trashing democracy in Detroit,” says Adams. “I’m going to put my word on him directly from me.”
Our Neighborhoods First and the Duggan campaign share an attorney. Other members of its organization have served in various capacities in city government.
This is not the first-time dark money appeared in Detroit this election season. Another group bought ads against Proposal P, the ballot question to adopt a new city charter. That effort was also opposed by Duggan.
“He’s scared because that’s the kind of guy he is. He’s a bully until he is confronted,” Adams adds.
As a tax-exempt social welfare organization, Our Neighborhoods First is not required to publish its campaign contributions or expenditures. The dark money group spent nearly $60,000 on Facebook ads over the past year.