DETROIT (WWJ) - A late entrant into the Detroit mayor’s race is taking direct aim at write-in candidate Mike Duggan.
This new candidate’s name? Mike Dugeon.
City Clerk Janice Winfrey confirmed to WWJ Newsradio 950 that the Detroit barber — with no known political experience — turned in paperwork this week declaring his intent to run as an official write-in candidate.
Michael Thaddeus Dugeon, 31, said he decided to run after Fox 2 news reporter Charlie LeDuff talked with him about entering the race against a candidate with a similar name.
“He was like, ‘Well wouldn’t it be funny to see who would split the votes?’ or something like that,” Dugeon told WXYZ-TV.
Did this begin as a joke?
“I woudn’t say a joke. It didn’t begin as serious as it’s turning — but it definitely didn’t start as a joke — because I did it. Nobody forced me to do it or nothin’,” Dugeon told WWJ’s Jon Hewett.
“I mean, I was presented with an opportunity and I’m taking … hold of it,” Dugeon said. “Where it ends, where it stops, I don’t know. I honestly don’t care.”
Dugeon is a graduate of Cooley High School and a lifelong Detroiter. In a Fox 2 interview, he said his platform consists of free Subway sandwiches, chips and pop for every citizen.
On July 3, Dugeon posted on his personal Facebook page: “This a fake ass city full of clowns…,” and “I’m Lovin them 10 dolla sundresses this summer.” Then, on July 25, he posted: “It’s official, I’m running for mayor.”
Meantime, Duggan says Dugeon is not running a legitimate campaign. Talking to reporters, he put the blame on opponent Benny Napoleon.
“As soon as this individual filed, his Facebook page went from a series of bizarre rants to beautiful graphics copying all of mine, and then being pushed out by the Napoleon folks on social media,” Duggan said. “This was executed from beginning to end by Napoleon.”
The Napoleon campaign claims it had nothing to do with Dugeon’s run.
“Absolutely not. Benny Napoleon has no reason to get involved in anything like that. We’re in the lead,” said Napoleon spokesman Jamaine Dickens. ”Dugeon has as much of a right as Duggan or anyone else to run.”
“This is Detroit, you gotta love it; the irony of it all. Every time Mr. Duggan has been kicked off the ballot or has an issue he brings up Benny Napoleon’s name. I suggest Mr. Duggan focus on his own campaign,” Dickens said.
A DugeonForDetroit Facebook page just popped up on Thursday.
Comments posted to the page include, “This is pathetic,” ”Nothing but cheap politics,” and, “This is not a game. Too much at stake for this farce.”
One man added, “What a disgrace and slap in the face to the citizens of the City of Detroit. It’s people like YOU that make the city look uneducated and full of scandal. Do us all a favor and expose what idiot put you up to this. The City of Detroit deserves better.”
One of the few supportive contributors wrote, “Mike Dugeon For Detroit. Write Mike and spell it right! D-U-G-E-O-N.”
Another Detroit mayoral candidate, Tom Barrow — who’d previously filed legal document challenging Duggan’s candidacy — was questioned Thursday about the controversy.
“I learned about it from the Free Press like everyone else,” he said, adding, “The whole idea of a write-in is funny. This is hilarious … Just make sure to spell my name right. B-a-r-r-o-w.”
Duggan was, according to polls, a leading candidate before a judge knocked him off the ballot because he was not a registered voter in Detroit long enough before filing to run.
Now the former Detroit Medical Center CEO is running a write-in campaign. He would need to finish at least second in the August 6 primary in order to appear on the November 5 general election ballot.