Six on the fringe in Detroit mayoral race

Christine Ferretti
The Detroit News
The Coleman A. Young Municipal Center

Detroit — One of the six little-known mayoral candidates is trying to sneak into the November general election as Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and state Sen. Coleman A. Young II have waged a high-profile if subdued primary campaign.

The two top vote-getters in Tuesday’s primary election will square off in the Nov. 7 general election.

Duggan led Young 64 percent to 30 percent among 412 Detroit residents likely to vote in the Aug. 8 primary election conducted by Target Insyght and paid for in part by the MIRS political subscription news service. Another 1 percent said they would vote for lesser-known candidates Edward Dean and Donna Marie Pitts and 4 percent were undecided.

The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

Duggan has kept up a busy schedule of public events in the past few months — from park openings to summer employment fairs to proposed housing developments.

The mayor is touting a grassroots campaign that has included community meetings, telephone banking and knocking on thousands of doors.

“I’m in these neighborhoods every day. I know what’s on people’s minds,” said Duggan, 59. “We have a long way to go, but most people see the progress that’s been made and when I talk about what I think we could accomplish in the next four years there’s a lot of support.”

Young has kept out of the limelight, relying on his father’s reputation and few press events — most recently to unveil a city revitalization plan with threats to sue state government to reverse longstanding policies.

Young said he’s going door-to-door, promoting his message on social media, in the community and senior homes.

“Any neighborhood that votes, we’re there,” said Young, 34. “We definitely think we’re going to have the vote of the people come August. We’re doing what we need to do and we’re getting it done.”

Young said he’s fighting water shutoffs and high insurance rates and for more services for the city’s most vulnerable.

He also is pushing for a skyTran system, “an elevated transit that uses electromagnetic power for personal rapid transit that carries two-person pods.”

Others appearing on the ballot for mayor include first-time contender Pitts, who said she wants a “better way of life” for Detroiters. Her goals include tackling health care, crime and rebuilding the community.

“I want to listen to Detroiters’ problems,” Pitts said. “So much needs to be done here.”

Candidate Articia Bomer has long referred to herself on social media as “Detroit’s next mayor” and said she has a plan to bring back a city that already is recognized nationally as being in the midst of a rebound.

Bomer, 45, said she’s running on a platform of “preservation, restoration and revitalization.” She is pushing for tax reform, better services for Detroit’s homeless and seniors and tougher penalties for bad landlords.

Another candidate is Danetta L. Simpson, 46, who has made past bids for state representative, Detroit’s school board and the City Council.

The lifelong resident said she has been an advocate for juvenile offenders, prisoner re-entry and parolee employment programs.

“I have a lot more in common with the residents personally than Mike Duggan and Coleman A. Young Jr.,” said Simpson, a former cosmetologist and salon owner who says she represents “new spirit.”

Candidate Curtis Christopher Greene, 32, is an author and activist touting a seven-point plan to rebuild Detroit.

His platform addresses jobs, discriminatory lending and access to meaningful employment for convicted felons with academic achievement.

Greene said people can relate to him since he has experienced hardships like many other Detroiters.

“The people who are voting are just like me,” he said. “They have the same struggles.”

Youth mentor Dean, 40, is a single father who founded the Avengers Youth Mentoring Organization, a nonprofit that offers summer camps, sports programming and life skills education for children.

His campaign focuses on economic development, small business investment, affordable housing and crime reduction.

Dean said he grew up in a poor family and dropped out of high school. But later, he obtained a GED and earned an associate’s degree at Wayne County Community College.

“I’m still persevering,” Dean said. “I want the people to understand that together in the midst of things we can work together.”

Angelo Brown, 54, is making his sixth consecutive run for mayor. The retired pastor and southwest Detroit resident said he is concerned with neighborhoods and offering community workshops on anger management, substance abuse and crime prevention.

“I believe that if people get a helping hand they can do better and the city can be better,” he said. “I want to focus on the neighborhoods. I think that’s the thing that is missing.”