At the Friday event, almost 40 ministers, including the Rev. Robert Smith of New Bethel Baptist Church and the Rev. Jim Holley stood behind Duggan as the former Detroit Medical Center CEO and ex-Wayne County prosecutor accepted their endorsement.
Holley, who hosted the event at the Historic Little Rock Baptist Church, said this is a critical time for Detroit — which became the largest municipality to file for bankruptcy in mid-July — and “we’ve got to do what’s best for the city.”
“It’s not a personal agenda. It’s got to be what’s best for the city,” Holley said. “We have the right man for the right time.”
Smith added race is not a factor in supporting Duggan.
“This is not a question of black and white,” Smith said. “This is a question of whether it’s better for the city, and the election of Mike Duggan is better for the city.”
Duggan would become the city’s first white mayor in more than four decades if elected; Napoleon is African-American.
Besides labor unions, Detroit’s religious community has generally carried significant clout in recent elections.
Several prominent churches also have set up separate political action committees. Among them are Fellowship Chapel, which has the Fannie Lou Hamer PAC that has endorsed Napoleon, and the Shrine of the Black Madonna. The Shrine’s political arm, the Black Slate Inc., played a pivotal role in the election of Detroit’s first black mayor Coleman Young in 1973.
Did They Forget?
Among the high-profile ministers who support Napoleon are Bishop Charles Ellis III of Greater Grace Temple, the Rev. Charles Adams of Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, Bishop Marvin Winans of the Perfecting Church and Bishop J. Drew Sheard of Greater Emmanuel Institutional Church of God in Christ.
Napoleon has also racked up endorsements from religious groups such as the African Methodist Episcopal, Christian Methodist Episcopal and AME Zion leaders of Detroit; and Detroit Ecumenical Church leaders.