Tensions flare in studio before debate

Nicquel Terry
The Detroit News

Detroit — The atmosphere was tense in the WDIV-TV studio moments before the debate between Mayor Mike Duggan and state Sen. Coleman Young II began Wednesday night.

There was confusion about whether the candidates could use notes during the debate.

“I was told there was no notes,” Duggan said from the podium.

Duggan, Young feisty in Detroit mayoral debate

Young appeared slightly irritated about the confusion while rocking side to side at his podium.

A studio staff member soon ended the dispute, emerging just before the night’s events began to confirm the campaigns had agreed to “no props or notes.”

“That’s not what I agreed to,” an aggravated Young responded.

The disagreement erupted just after both arrived in the studio in downtown Detroit and greeted debate panelists Christine Ferretti of The Detroit News, WDIV anchor Kimberly Gill, and Bridge Magazine reporter and Detroit Journalism Cooperative contributor Chastity Pratt Dawsey.

Young first approached the WDIV news desk with a copy of his birth certificate and baptismal records in hand and laid them down for the reporters. The move was done in anticipation of possible questions Young has faced about his name — but which were not raised during the debate.

Finley: Young’s ‘motherland’ comment spoils performance

The senator was born in the city and lived here until he was 6. He then moved to California with his mother Annivory Calvert and was renamed Joel Loving amid death threats against his father, Young has said.

His mother later sued then-Mayor Coleman Young and paternity was established through blood tests after the mayor initially contested the allegation.

Michigan courts renamed Loving as Coleman A. Young Jr. to match his baptismal records.

The Wednesday night tensions between the candidates carried over into the forum. A stern-looking Young delivered attacks on Duggan, who looked serious as he countered the jabs.

After the debate, Young criticized the studio set-up at WDIV saying there should have been an invited audience.

“I thought it was disrespectful to the people,” Young said.

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Twitter: @NicquelTerry