Napoleon (Paul Sancya / AP)
Detroit— City voters can expect a flurry of activity in the next few days as the mayoral candidates make a push to court undecided residents heading into the campaign’s last week.
Voters will choose next Tuesday whether former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan or Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon will be the city’s next leader.
The two challengers are set today to participate in the final debate before the election on WXYZ-TV Channel 7. The event, co-sponsored by the Booker T. Washington Business Association and the Detroit Black Chamber of Commerce, is set to start at 7 p.m.
“According to the polls, there are still a number of undecideds out there,” Duggan campaign manager Bryan Barnhill II said. “We not only have to affirm our supporters, but we also have to convince undecideds that Mike is the best candidate they should vote for. A huge part of it is how Mike performs in the debate on Tuesday night.”
Napoleon said Monday he was “as ready as I’m going to get” about the debate and his goal remains the same.
“Just try to get the message out and get folks to understand there’s a stark difference between the candidates, and they’re going to have to decide,” the former Detroit police chief said.
Political analyst Eric Foster said barring a last-minute development, the race is Duggan’s to win. Napoleon’s best hope to gain voters is to talk more about his neighborhood plan, Foster said.
“Benny needs to change what he’s talking about and get more into his neighborhood plan,” he said.
On Monday, Napoleon pushed his “One Square Mile” plan at New St. Peter Baptist Church on Detroit’s west side and held a $100-a-person fundraiser downtown that drew about 70 supporters by early Monday evening at R.U.B. Bbq Pub. Today, he plans to address the Detroit branch of the NAACP.
Other plans include radio interviews Wednesday, a get-out-the-vote rally at Mt. Zion Baptist Church on the city’s east side and an appearance on WDIV-TV’s “Flashpoint” Sunday morning.
Duggan’s camp is continuing the house parties they call an intimate way to interact with voters. The campaign will participate in the Angels’ Night patrol in the Morningside community. The campaign also plans a final town hall to present his “Every neighborhood has a future plan” at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Impact Church on the city’s east side.
“We’re still working extremely hard,” Barnhill said.
Meanwhile, the super political action committee supporting Duggan has raised $2.8 million overall and $1.4 million in the latest period, according to a recently released report.
The largest contributor to Turnaround Detroit has been auto executive Roger Penske, who made a $250,000 individual contribution in September and whose Penske Corp. made another $250,000 donation Oct. 7. The money was given in the latest report covering July 27 to Oct. 20.
The group spent about $1.2 million, according to the finance report, and has an ending balance of $181,000.
Detroit Forward, the super PAC backing Napoleon, has raised more than $300,000 overall — and $161,000 from July 27 to Oct. 20 — and had a balance of a little more than $50,000.
Staff Writer Steve Pardo contributed