August 6, 2014 at 4:36 pm

Polls made Evans confident of Wayne County exec primary victory

Wayne County Executive candidate Warren Evans thanks his supporters at his election night party. (Robin Buckson / The Detroit News)

Detroit— Wayne County Executive Democratic nominee Warren Evans on Wednesday said he knew he was the frontrunner early in the campaign because of polls his team conducted.

Evans, the former Wayne County Sheriff and Detroit police chief, stayed quiet for most of the campaign while other candidates turned up the rhetoric near the end of the campaign to dethrone Robert Ficano, the current county executive.

“The final outcome is pretty much what we saw when we started polling at the very beginning,” Evans said. “We had a big lead in the beginning and we finished about as strong as I think we began. I’m real happy with the outcome.”

Evans hired Steve Mitchell, an East Lansing pollster who also did polling work for the super political action committee that backed Mike Duggan for Detroit mayor in 2013.

Evans’ comments came as Ficano issued a concession statement Wednesday and pondered his next move after three decades in public service.

“We’ve got a job to do through the end of the year and certainly we will be cooperative during the transition period after the election in November,” Ficano said in a statement crafted by his campaign manager’s company, Mort Meisner Associates. “As for me, I’ll take some time to think about the future, but whatever I do I will always be a cheerleader for Wayne County and telling folks about what a great place it is to invest, work and raise a family.”

The victory marks a return to the spotlight for Evans, who served as Ficano’s undersheriff in the 1980s. Evans was sheriff from 2003 to 2009, when he became Detroit police chief. He was forced to quit a year later following a controversies including the death of a girl during a police raid and a relationship with a subordinate.

Evans said he believed it was clear from the beginning of the campaign that voters “had enough” of the scandals and deficit spending in Wayne County.

“The issue was just who else they were going to elect,” Evans said. “It was pretty clear to me they weren't going to re-elect him.”

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