Benny Napoleon and Krystal Crittendon. (Detroit News file)
Detroit— Mayoral candidate Benny Napoleon told members of the National Action Network he’s reached out to former Detroit Corporation Counsel Krystal Crittendon to be his deputy mayor.
The Rev. Charles Williams II said Napoleon, the Wayne County sheriff, made the announcement to about 200 people Saturday during his group’s weekly meeting the Historic King Solomon Baptist Church.
“Benny Napoleon and Krystal Crittendon would represent the right amount of finesse and fight to lead this city out of a dictatorship known as emergency management,” Williams said via Twitter.
Crittendon ran for mayor in the August primary and finished third. Williams said she is a champion for Detroit and would complement Napoleon in his matchup against Mike Duggan, the former Detroit Medical Center CEO, in the Nov. 5 election.
“(Crittendon) would bring a Napoleon administration the spirit of making sure Detroiters have someone who is fighting for them and is engaged in holding accountable the emergency manager and Governor Snyder,” Williams told The Detroit News. “We need somebody who is going to be a watchdog in terms of these issues. It’s good to know we have somebody like that in office that’s going to be paying attention to those type of things.”
The Napoleon campaign confirmed Sunday it has reached out to Crittendon and other former mayoral candidates. Crittendon could not immediately be reached.
“Benny Napoleon has had a conversation with Krystal Crittendon as he has many other mayoral and City Council candidates from this election cycle to discuss how together we will move forward to transform Detroit’s neighborhoods,” campaign spokesman Bryan Peckinpaugh said late Sunday.
Crittendon faced scrutiny for months after she she mounted an unsuccessful legal challenge to the consent agreement. Her stance led to the City Council’s 6-3 vote to remove her at the request of Mayor Dave Bing.
Her role as corporation counsel came in question when she sought a judge’s ruling on the consent deal, saying it was not valid because the state owed Detroit money, including a $4.7 million water bill. State officials threatened to hold up the city’s ability to borrow $137 million because of the legal challenge.
The move spurred Bing and state officials to bring in Miller Canfield, an outside legal firm, to handle issues surrounding the city’s restructuring efforts.
Political analyst Eric Foster said campaigning with Crittendon would boost Napoleon’s chances by 2-3 percentage points. Napoleon finished a distant second in the primary and has lagged most polls in the general election. Adding Crittendon would help Napoleon with low-to-middle income voters who believe the government isn’t working for them, Foster said.
“It’s is a good move, a logical move,” said Foster, who ran state Rep. Fred Durhal’s failed mayoral bid. “Benny needs additional people to add meat to his platform and in regard to Krystal’s response to the emergency manager position that gives meat to a good portion to voters. (Napoleon) still is not going to win, but it gives him a little more credibility in the argument about his position on the emergency manager. She can help him with that audience, but it still isn’t enough to get him to the needle.”
Foster said Crittendon brings a good understanding of city government and the operations.
“She did her job. That’s what the charter called her to do,” Foster said. “That’s what you want. Whether you agree or not, she was on solid legal ground. I may not agree with everything, but she had the legal right to argue everything she argued as corporation counsel. Mike (Duggan) would be served well by having her in his administration also.”