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State Rep. Durhal joins crowded Detroit mayor's race

Detroit won’t elect its next mayor for nearly a year, but the field is already getting crowded.

Detroit State Representative Fred Durhal threw his hat in the ring Monday.

Durhal is a veteran of Detroit politics. He cut his teeth under longtime former Detroit mayor Coleman Young, and is now in his third term in the Michigan State House, where he sits on the appropriations committee.

But Durhal sees his insider status as a selling point. He says he knows how to work with Lansing, and get Detroit out of its chronic financial problems—something Durhal clearly implied isn't happening under Dave Bing's leadership.

“Detroit can change, and it will change,” Durhal told a crowd of supporters at Unity Baptist Church in Detroit. “All we need is some leadership downtown.”

Durhal joins fellow Detroit State Representative Lisa Howze as a declared candidate for mayor. Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon is reportedly considering a run, and Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan has said he’s in an “exploratory” phase that will end with a decision on whether to run at the end of the year.

Bing has yet to formally declare whether he'll seek a second term.

Durhal also fashioned himself as someone in touch with the needs of everyday Detroiters and their needs. He also took some not-so-subtle shots at Duggan, a prodigious fundraiser who only recently moved to the city—and what Durhal called a plan to “buy votes.”

“Detroit ain’t for sale. I don’t care how much money you raise,” Durhal said. “If you’re not dealing with the people’s hearts and their desires and their aspirations, you could spend a million dollars and lose the election.”

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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