Detroit Mayoral Candidates Duggan and Young Are on Their Way to a Debate

August 10, 2017, 5:45 PM by  Catherine Nouhan

Mayor Mike Duggan and state Sen. Coleman A. Young II

Mayor Mike Duggan has answered the call of challenger Coleman A. Young II to debate.

Duggan campaign manager Sharon Banks tells rMotor City Muckrajer the mayor agrees to at least one debate between this week's primary election finalists.

Duggan dominated Tuesday’s primary election, winning 67 percent of votes to Young’s 27. The election knocked six other candidates and several write-ins out of the race.

But Young claims a victory of sorts, citing the large disparity in money spent and raised so far in the campaign. In his speech to supporters Tuesday night, Young challenged Duggan to debate.

"I'll debate him in the outhouse. I’ll debate him in the penthouse. I’ll debate him in the courthouse. I’ll debate him in the poor house. I’ll debate him in his own damn house," the Democratic state senator said.

Adolph Mongo, Young’s campaign manager, tells Deadline Detroit his side ideally would like three debates before voters head to the polls on Nov. 7, with the first in the first week of September. As of Thursday afternoon, he said, the two campaigns had yet to negotiate details.

They’d like at least one debate at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American Museum, Mongo said.

“It’s a black city and we want to put it in the right perspective,” Mongo said. “Duggan said there is no difference between the neighborhoods and downtown. He says there’s no divide, but there is a divide.”

The Detroit News adds this:

“The teams have to sit down and work out the details, but I’m sure there’s going to be a debate,” said Duggan during an event Thursday in southwest Detroit. “That’s never been a question in my mind. It’s part of the process. I debated the last time. I’ll debate this time.”

Duggan said his campaign will stay focused on building a unified city and that he won’t be engaging in mudslinging with Young.

“They got the old play book of hate and divisiveness as a message,” the mayor said during a Wednesday morning interview. “It didn’t work very well for them in the primary. I doubt it will work any better in the general, but we’re not going to engage in it.”

The race is widely seen as a referendum on Duggan’s first four years in office and whether voters have the confidence to let him serve four more years. Duggan supporters are largely pleased with the gains the city has made, but the Young campaign says any progress has been limited to the downtown/Midtown area, and the mayor has neglected the city’s neighborhoods.

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