With a new governor poised to take over in January – one more sympathetic to the needs of the state’s largest city in Geoffrey Fieger’s opinion, the flamboyant attorney announced conditions would be ripe and thus he planned to run for mayor of Detroit.
“If not me, then who?” said Fieger said on WWJ-TV CBS Detroit’s “Michigan Matters” where he talked about why he would run for the top job in the Motor City in 2013.
Fieger considered a run for governor in the current contest, but decided it was unwinnable for any Democrat.
Though critics point to Gov. Jennifer Granholm’ leadership and Democratic politics as reasons for the woes, Fieger said it was the failed policies of former President George W. Bush and his administration that were to blame.
When asked about the two men running to replace Granholm — Republican candidate Rick Snyder and Democrat challenger Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero — and who he might support, the barrister would not commit.
“I will support the person who I think would help the state most,” he said, adding the last Republican candidate he voted for was Bill Milliken, the moderate Republican governor.
“I am from here, was born in Harper Hospital and have had a good life in Detroit and Michigan. I have three children here and I know I can help,” he said of a mayoral run.
Fieger, 59, lost by a landslide when he ran for governor in 1998 and has talked about running for mayor a few times.
“I am not forming an exploratory committee or anything like that,” he said. “I have decided and don’t need to do that.”
A successful attorney with three children under the age of 10, he said that played a part in his decision not to run for governor. Three years from now they will be older and campaign easier on them.
Dave Bing, 67, former CEO of a steel supplier firm, began his four-year term as Detroit’s mayor in January.
“The mayor is focused on the challenges at hand, not the next campaign,” Bing spokeswoman Karen Dumas said when asked about his re-election plans.
“He is singularly uninspiring,” Fieger said of Bing.
Having a governor Fieger sees as supporting Detroit is critical.
“I like that fact that either Snyder or Bernero will be governor and will be supportive of Detroit. That is the reason I made the decision to run (for mayor),” he added.
Fieger was joined on the TV show by businesswoman Denise Ilitch and radio personality Frankie Darcell.
When the panel was asked about a White candidate’s chances of winning a mayoral post in the primarily African-American city, Darcell said Fieger would transcend racial lines.
“I have said for 10 years that Geoffrey would be the one White candidate who could get elected,” she said, adding his direct, no nonsense style would help the Motor City fix its woes.
“I don’t mean any disrespect to the Mayor (Bing),” Darcell added about her comments.
The last White mayor in Detroit was Roman Gribbs, who served 1970-74.
Fieger also offered advice for Snyder, who is leading in post primary polls by as much as 20 points.
“The way it has been is not much happens between the primary and Labor Day. If (Rick (Snyder) wants to have this done and won by Sept. 1, all he needs to do is spend everything he can now. Put all of his money into a huge advertising buy for the next few weeks and Virg (Bernero) won’t be able to recover. The unions spent everything they had to get him through the primary.”
Fieger also said it would be a mistake for Snyder to adjust his maverick style and to reach out to the Right to Life, west side of the state conservative faction.
“I know that is what the (news) papers are telling him to do. That would be a huge mistake. He is where he is without them. He will go further reaching out to moderates,” he said.
“They (conservatives) will come to him. They have nowhere else to go,” he added.
Watch the Emmy Award winning “Michigan Matters” on WWJ-TV CBS Detroit at 11 a.m. Saturday.