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Detroit mayoral candidates push voter turnout efforts

Nov. 4, 2013 at 12:58 PM   |   Comments

DETROIT, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- Mayoral candidates in Detroit picked up their efforts to increase voter turnout in Tuesday's election, a strategy political experts say is key to winning.

In the waning days of the campaign, supporters of Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon and former Detroit Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Mike Duggan have been door-knocking and stumping throughout the Motor City, The Detroit News reported Monday.

Napoleon's campaign has been relying on help from the Detroit Forward superPAC in get-out-the-vote efforts, Detroit political consultant Steve Hood said. Unions and churches also are helping with voter turnout efforts efforts.

Duggan has expanded on an infrastructure he built during his primary write-in campaign with hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions from corporations and others, Hood said.

Polls indicated Duggan, who is white, holds a nearly 2-1 margin over Napoleon in a city that is about 82 percent African-American, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

If Duggan wins, he would be the first white mayor of Detroit since 1974.

As of Thursday, about 34,000 people turned in absentee ballots and 600 people voted at designated absentee voter locations, election officials said.

Detroit officials have projected a voter turnout of between 20 percent and 25 percent Tuesday.

One of Duggan's most vocal supporters, Malik Shabazz, president of the New Marcus Garvey Movement-New Black Panther Nation in Detroit, said having President Obama in the White House changes things.

"In the last two national elections, African-Americans have asked the nation to choose the best person for the job and not get caught up in color. And twice, Barack Obama has won," he told the Times.

"Now, in Detroit, in 2013, the best man running is a white brother, and that's OK."

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