Duggan seeks third term in 2021 with an endorsement from an unlikely place

Dec 10, 2020 at 10:14 am
click to enlarge Duggan seeks third term in 2021 with an endorsement from an unlikely place
City of Detroit, public domain

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is officially seeking re-election in 2021 for a third term — and got an endorsement from a progressive leader who he previously had a huge public falling out with.

Duggan announced his re-election campaign via livestream Wednesday evening, which included an endorsement from Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, the city's former health office director and 2018 gubernatorial candidate who ran as a progressive Democrat.

"Mayor Duggan and I haven’t always agreed. We have clear disagreements on the way we approach our politics," El-Sayed said in a taped segment. "But Mayor Duggan, from the day we began working together, proved to me that public health is one of his primary concerns."

It's a bit of an about-face for El-Sayed. The two clashed during El-Sayed's gubernatorial campaign, with El-Sayed accusing Duggan of ignoring his warnings of the health risks of city housing demolitions and water shutoffs.

"He didn't want to pay attention to the fact that Detroit’s demolitions program is poisoning kids with lead up until this year," El-Sayed told Michigan Radio.

As Bridge Michigan noted, the sparring came after Duggan declined to endorse El-Sayed in the race for governor. Instead, Duggan endorsed Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who also offered her endorsement for his 2021 re-election effort on Wednesday.

In recent days, Duggan, 62, announced an extension on a moratorium on residential water shutoffs due to unpaid bills through 2022 and a plan that would end them permanently. And earlier on Wednesday, Duggan announced an ambitious recreational marijuana business program for Michigan's biggest city that offers generous social equity provisions to help Black Detroiters enter the new industry and goes one step further by allowing consumption lounges, something that isn't allowed elsewhere in the state.

Despite controversy over the demolition program, Proposal N, a $250 million bond pitched by Duggan to demolish 8,000 houses and fix up another 8,000 salvageable ones, was handily approved by voters in November.

"I'm not going anywhere," Duggan said during the livestream. "If you hire me for four more years, I will work every single day to continue to make sure every neighborhood has a future and every Detroiter has a true opportunity to achieve your dreams."

In his initial 2013 campaign in 2013, Duggan was kicked off the primary ballot because he filed too early. He ran as a write-in, and thanks to a catchy jingle and billboard campaign, won by 45% of the vote and went on to defeat Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon with 55% of the vote. In 2017, he earned more than 70% of the vote against former state Senator (and son of the former Detroit mayor) Coleman A. Young II.

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