Endorse, of course 

After sharing the stage though any number of debates prior to the primary, the former opponents of Hill and Kilpatrick know their platforms and credentials far better than most. So who these one-time contenders endorse carries some significance. The results so far: two for Kwame, one undecided and one abstention.

In a coup for Kilpatrick, former mayoral candidates Bill Brooks and Charles Beckham not only endorsed the state representative, but have gone so far as to join his campaign. Brooks — demonstrating the sincerity of his campaign’s emphasis on helping the disenfranchised of this city — said he made the leap after being invited to propose a plan to address poverty, homelessness and sexually transmitted diseases. Beckham likewise said his ideas about revamping city bureaucracy and emphasizing black minority businesses would be added to the Kilpatrick game plan. The double announcement came at a press conference Monday, during which the Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit and Vicinity announced that its 300 pastors — with combined congregations of 250,000 — are endorsing the 31-year-old Kilpatrick.

But the news wasn’t all bad for the Gilster. Hill had a press conference of his own Monday at the New St. Paul Tabernacle, where it was announced that more than 100 ministers are endorsing the council president’s mayoral campaign. Asked how many voters the ministers represented, Hill said: “A lot.” Then he added: “I have no numbers.”

Meanwhile, the third-place finisher in the primary, Nicholas Hood III, isn’t ready to endorse either candidate. The city councilman (who got 8 percent of the vote, compared to Kilpatrick’s 50 percent and Hill’s 34 percent) said he’s met twice with Hill to discuss issues, but so far has been playing phone tag with Kilpatrick. Hood says he wants assurances that his three top issues will become a priority for whomever he endorses. Hood’s goals: giving vacant land to developers who want to build entertainment facilities, businesses or homes; deploying more police officers to patrol neighborhoods day and night; and using the city Health Department to help provide medical care to the 250,000 residents without health insurance. “Those issues are very important to me. I’d be concerned that anyone I endorse not be an embarrassment to my endorsement,” Hood said.

Hill said he felt confident about the meeting he had with Hood last week.

“His people have agreed to join us,” said Hill, referring to Hood’s 20 or so campaign staff. Asked what he thought of Brooks and Beckham getting behind Kilpatrick, Hill told News Hits, “Good for him.”

Meanwhile, city auditor and former mayoral candidate Joe Harris says he won’t endorse either candidate. Both Hill and Kilpatrick let him know they were interested, Harris said, but he’s staying out in an effort to “protect the integrity” of his office and to avoid future claims by the mayor that his reports are politically motivated. Though he won’t endorse, Harris did say he wasn’t overly impressed with Hill’s answers during an informal debate last week. “If he’s going to try harder to do the same thing we’ve been doing in the past, we’re going to have the same results we’ve had in the past,” Harris said. “I don’t think just trying harder is going to get it done.”

Lisa M. Collins and Ann Mullen contributed to News Hits, which is edited by Curt Guyette. He can be reached at 313-202-8004 or [email protected]

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