April 12, 2018
Joel Kurth, Bridge Magazine

Last fall, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dr. Abdul El-Sayed said he expected the endorsement of his former boss, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

Today, the relationship is so strained that El-Sayed – the city’s former health director – is publicly accusing Duggan of “poisoning kids.” The mayor in turn says El-Sayed is “irresponsibly” engaging in revisionist history and misrepresenting his 18-month tenure in City Hall.

The feud exploded on Wednesday, when El-Sayed went on Michigan Radio and said Duggan ignored his warnings to mitigate the health risks of city housing demolitions and water shutoffs.

“He didn’t want to pay attention to the fact that Detroit’s demolitions program is poisoning kids with lead up until this year,” El-Sayed told Michigan Radio.

The statements came a few weeks after El-Sayed said at a candidate forum that his clashes with Duggan over the city’s demolition program helped prompt him to resign in February 2017 after 18 months on the job to run for governor.

“I challenged him so much I got kicked out of meetings,” El-Sayed said at Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School in Detroit.

The doctor told the crowd he “banged my head against that issue” and is the only candidate who “actively stood up against Mike Duggan.”

El-Sayed is polling third in a four-person Democratic primary behind presumed front-runner Whitmer, the former Senate minority leader, and business executive Shri Thanedar, and ahead of retired executive Bill Cobbs. El-Sayed’s emerging feud with Duggan could raise questions about his ability to win the August Democratic primary without the active support of Detroit’s powerful mayor, much less a bruising general election fight in November.

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