Duggan won't debate mayoral opponent Adams prior to Nov. 2 general election

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Detroit — Mayor Mike Duggan said he won't debate his mayoral challenger, former deputy mayor Anthony Adams, ahead of the November general election. 

Duggan is not scheduled to and will not take part in any debates with Adams in the seven weeks leading up to the Nov. 2 race because of "hateful and divisive rhetoric," Duggan's campaign manager Alexis Wiley told The Detroit News. 

Wiley on Wednesday pointed to numerous inflammatory tweets from Adams. 

"He doesn't want to give him (Adams) a platform for hate speech," added Wiley, Duggan's former chief of staff. 

The mayor's decision to bow out of any debates with Adams comes after he turned down an invitation to participate in a Thursday town hall debate with Detroit IPTV, which Wiley said he was unavailable to attend. 

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is not scheduled to and will not debate mayoral challenger Anthony Adams in the seven weeks leading up to the Nov. 2 general election, his campaign confirmed Wednesday.

Adams, 65, has built his campaign on Detroit's crime and poverty rates, launching his candidacy by accusing Duggan of "benign neglect." He insists there is "a clear need for change" following the city's over-taxation of residents and infrastructure failures.

Adams told The News Wednesday he agrees that his campaign is based on hate speech because "I hate what he (Duggan) is doing to Detroit."

He attacked Duggan on the volume of foreclosures and water shutoffs the city has endured in recent years, practices in the city's massive blight elimination effort and what he claims is a lack of investment in Black businesses. 

"I hate the fact that Detroiters continue to be over-assessed for taxes," he said. "I hate the fact that people were overtaxed by more than $600 million dollars... I hate the fact that crime is out of control ..."

Added Adams: "What my opponent has forgotten is that a debate is a time-honored tradition of democracy. If Trump and Biden can debate, surely Adams and Duggan can."

Anthony Adams, a former deputy mayor for Detroit, is taking on Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan in the Nov. 2 general election. Adams told The News Wednesday he agrees that his campaign is based on hate speech because "I hate what he (Duggan) is doing to Detroit."

In the last election cycle, Duggan faced off in a single debate with his 2017 challenger, Coleman A. Young II, in a televised fall debate. Young had urged Duggan to participate in other forums, including a poverty town hall, but Duggan's campaign declined.

Duggan agreed to take part in the 2017 debate with Young after Young’s campaign called multiple times for the pair to come together to publicly discuss their plans for Detroit.

The mayor, at the time, called a debate “part of the (election) process” and noted “I debated the last time. I’ll debate this time.”

Duggan took part in three debates when he ran against the late Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon in 2013. 

Duggan defeated Young in the November 2017 general race, earning 72% of the vote to Young's 28%. 

After winning the 2013 primary with a write-in campaign, Duggan defeated Napoleon with 55% of the vote in the general election to become Detroit's first white mayor in 40 years. 

Duggan, 63, posted a blowout victory over Adams in the August primary, setting up a fall election that political analysts have said is "his to lose" after Adams failed to capture 10% of the vote. 

The mayor secured 72% of the vote as well as more than $1.1 million in campaign donations in the seven months leading up to the Aug. 3 race over Adams, a Kwame Kilpatrick era deputy mayor, who earned 9.9%. Adams led the pack in fundraising among nine primary hopefuls but only raised about a tenth of the mayor's haul or $160,000 between January and July 18.

In his bid for a third, four-year term, Duggan has turned his attention to building “One Detroit for Everyone.”

To do so, he's focused on equitable revitalization for every Detroiter by including the creation and preservation of affordable housing, the revitalization of long-neglected neighborhoods and ensuring every Detroiter – through programs like Detroit at Work – has access to jobs and job training. He is also focused on growing Detroit Means Business, another program, which has served 3,000 small businesses in the city.

If elected, Adams has said he would sign an executive order halting the transfer of property to the Wayne County treasurer for tax foreclosure. He also would focus on affordable housing, a community policing strategy and launch a general day of amnesty that he calls, "Get Yourself Together Day."

Duggan is expected to make a keynote address at the Mackinac Policy Conference on Sept. 22. Adams said he wasn't invited to the island.

srahal@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @SarahRahal_