When it comes to down ballot city races, and this isn’t unique to Detroit, usually it’s a land of zero policy discussions, photos of candidates that are from 20 years ago on billboards, name recognition, personal attacks and inside party games.
Basically, all the reasons so many people hate politics.
But at least when it comes to a City Clerk, the snore-o-riffic factor might have all changed with the entrance of Garlin Gilchrist II, the City of Detroit’s Director of Innovation and Emerging Technology, into the race.
He officially announced last week, but he has a video on Facebook that seems far more polished for this level of race than usual and is spreading around, talking about how he was “devastated that the voting process in Detroit did not work.” Check it out below.
The current City Clerk, Janice Winfrey, has come under fire for ballot count irregularities and some have even called for her resignation.
This is a big deal in the city of Detroit for a variety of reasons. Obviously, every vote should count in a democracy.
But what happens in Detroit could have national consequences. In the last election, Detroit voters didn’t turn out for Hillary Clinton in 2016 like they did for Barack Obama in 2012 and 2008. Those results may have swung the state of Michigan in a different direction in the presidential race.
To be clear, although a state audit did not find fraud they did find problems in training of poll workers.
A recent telephone poll before Gilchrist II entered the race showed that the current City Clerk is vulnerable, but still commands 34% with three potential three challengers at the time and “other” receiving a combined 21 percent and “unsure” received the plurality of responses at 45 percent.
Senate Minority Floor Leader Morris HOOD III (D-Detroit) received 9 percent, community activist Heaster WHEELER had 7 percent, and former mayoral aide Adam HOLLIER had 3 percent.
We interviewed Gilchrist II before he was running for anything on our Daily Detroit Happy Hour podcast, and agree with him or not, to say this guy is smart is an understatement. Have a listen. We dived into his experience with MoveOn.org, the Barack Obama campaign, and the city of Detroit.
By the way, we didn’t expect to be interviewing a future candidate so consider our door open to anyone else in the race and we may revisit Gilchrist II later down the line. But it’ll be in the same format as above. Hit up our submission form.