Despite Controversial Past, Ficano Kicks Off Re-Election Campaign
DETROIT (AP/WWJ) — Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano is kicking off his re-election campaign today — but can he shuck off the scandals of the last few years?
It remains to be seen.
The Democrat has scheduled a news conference for 5 p.m. Monday at International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 58 in Detroit, where supporters are expected to gather.
He plans to outline his vision for the future.
First elected in 2002, he’s seeking his fourth term. He previously served as sheriff of Wayne County.
Other confirmed candidates for the job include Democratic state Rep. Phil Cavanagh of Redford Township, Democratic County Commissioner Kevin McNamara of Belleville and Westland Mayor Bill Wild.
They’re all striving to unseat Ficano following corruption convictions for several of his top staffers, an FBI corruption probe of his administration, and a failed jail project that went $100 million over budget before it was abandoned. There’s also talk an emergency manager could be appointed for the county.
Despite all that, Bill Ballenger of Inside Michigan Politics told WWJ’s Beth Fisher Ficano could still win with a crowded field in the Democratic primary.
“The more opponents you have who can split up the opposition vote, the better it is for the incumbent — because all the incumbent has to do in this case is win a plurality, in a Democratic primary, he doesn’t have to win a majority,” Ballenger explained.
Ballenger said Ficano benefits from a big stash of campaign funds and high name recognition.
Political consultant Steve Hood told WWJ’s Vickie Thomas the campaign will be an uphill battle — and doesn’t think he can win. “I think it’s sad … We worked very hard, the mantra was ‘strong, honest and fair.'”