Duggan offers to chair a Biden 2020 presidential bid

Melissa Nann Burke
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says he would run the Democratic nomination campaign of former Vice President Joe Biden if he decides to run for president in 2020.

“Well, you know, I’d do it if Joe Biden wanted,” Duggan said on Politico’s Off Message podcast that was released Tuesday.

Biden, a Democrat, grew into a major advocate for Detroit during the Obama administration, paying a number of visits to the city during its revitalization and helping it to land federal grants.

Biden is also a Duggan advocate, recording a robocall for Duggan’s re-election campaign at his request that went out to Detroit households the night before the Aug. 8 primary, he said.

“It was very effective because we had identified our voters through knocking on 100,000 doors. I just wanted to make sure they turned out,” Duggan said.

“He’s loved here. He’s just completely loved here,” the mayor added, noting the passing of Biden’s son Beau Biden from cancer in 2015. “If it had been at a different point, he would be president now.”

Duggan also had positive things to say about President Donald Trump’s new chief of staff, former Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, who met with Duggan when he visited the Detroit area in late March, calling him a “very impressive man.”

Kelly’s visit focused in part on Trump’s immigration policies, and Duggan said Kelly told him he didn’t have a problem” with the city’s stance, which is to not inquire about citizenship status during traffic stops.

“We are not immigration enforcement. That is not our job,” said Duggan, a former Wayne County prosecutor. “I didn’t say we’re not going to cooperate on a criminal matter, but we are not going to be law enforcement for immigration.”

Duggan told Kelly during his spring visit that the city was debating whether to cancel its popular Cinco de Mayo parade, as Philadelphia had done.

“If you’re telling me you’re only investigating based on specific information and not doing roundups, will you commit if we go forward with the Cinco de Mayo parade, there will be no roundups?” Duggan said.

“He said, ‘I give you my word. You can hold that parade without fear that we will be out doing roundups.’ We had the parade.”

Duggan acknowledged a dispute with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign advisers over control of her get-out-the-vote operation in Detroit, where the campaign used a canvassing company. While Clinton won 95 percent of city votes, turnout was lower than in 2012.

“The good news is that Michigan did not tip the balance,” Duggan said. “Had Michigan decided this election, I probably would have been haunted by that for a really long time.”


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