DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit’s mayoral campaign trail has taken a decidedly negative tone in these final days leading up to Tuesday’s election.
WWJ’s Vickie Thomas talked to political consultant Steve Hood, who said you won’t have to look hard to find the nasty ads.
“It’s gotten dirty because throughout the campaign, up until this week and a little bit last week, neither candidate has striven to identify the other candidate,” he said.
Both candidates — Mike Duggan and Benny Napoleon — acknowledged that the gloves have come off a bit as the mudslinging intensifies.
“I think it was inevitable,” Duggan said. “When one candidate is way behind the other, they tend to get really nasty. That’s what we’ve seen, that’s what we expected and we’re ready for it and hopefully we’re handling it calmly and professionally.”
“That’s just what happens in a political race,” Napoleon said. “We’ve managed to keep it pretty clean up until the last couple of weeks but it has gotten kind of dicey in the last couple days.”
But those ads are finally creating a response from voters, according to Hood.
“Both campaigns are running positive commercials and negative commercials. It’s finally like a real campaign,” Hood said. “We’ve been waiting for this. It’s been boring, it’s been a sleeper but now, it’s heated up.”
Hood said he believes it will be a very close race, despite polls that show Duggan walking all over Napoleon.
“When I look at who did the polls, I’ve got to go back in history and I’m sorry about this but EPIC-MRA has gotten two out of the last three mayoral polls wrong. They called it for Gil Hill and they called it for Freman Hendrix. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, you’re wrong,” Hood said.
Meanwhile, it’s expected to be a busy weekend of campaigning as both candidates initiate their last push to gain votes.
Napoleon is hosting a big event at his home church, Mt. Zion Baptist, on Friday, followed by appearances at a handful of other churches.
“It’s a positive moment for Benny. We’re going to have a great time, starting at 6 o’clock Friday night. Then, it’s church on Sunday and we have a lot of them, probably, I think right now I’m scheduled for six churches Sunday,” Napoleon said.
And Duggan is planning to have a homecoming of sorts.
“On Saturday, we’re having my 250th and final house party at my childhood home on Stansbury. It’s been almost 50 years since I’ve been in the house so I’m very much looking forward to going back home with my mom and my dad,” Duggan said.