Kilpatrick Poses Quandary for Obama in Mich.
By David S. Broder
DENVER -- The Michigan delegation, which had to endure months of legal and political challenges just to be seated at the Democratic National Convention, is headed home Friday with a new worry.
On Wednesday, Gov. Jennifer Granholm will open hearings that could lead to the removal of her fellow Democrat, Kwame M. Kilpatrick, as mayor of Detroit. The mayor, who was targeted in a sex scandal with his former executive secretary, now faces ten felony indictments in two separate cases. The Detroit City Council has called for his resignation and when he balked, it urged the governor to use her authority to remove him.
Members of the Michigan delegation, speaking anonymously because of the sensitivity of the situation, said today that Granholm is likely to find that "the preponderance of evidence" supports Kilpatrick's ouster. But she is reportedly uncomfortable at the prospective reaction if she, a white politician, removes the black mayor of her state's largest city.
She is reportedly encouraging private negotiations that might lead to Kilpatrick's resignation.
Meantime, delegates report that the mayor's fight to stay on has obliterated all other political news at home and could, unless resolved, jeopardize the Democrats' chances of holding Michigan and its 17 electoral votes in their column in November.
One knowledgeable state official said that anti-Kilpatrick emotions have inflamed voters in Detroit's largely white suburbs of Macomb and Oakland counties, the principal battleground for national candidates. Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg reported this week that his latest survey of Macomb County gave John McCain a 7-point lead over Barack Obama. More worrisome, the delegation sources said, are signs that Oakland County, with a substantial Jewish population, is so angry with Kilpatrick that Obama could be in trouble there, as well.
Democratic officials expect Obama to pull an exceptionally large vote in Detroit, no matter who is mayor, but they worry that he could be demolished in the suburban counties unless the Kilpatrick quandary is solved.
Posted at 7:40 PM ET on Aug 28, 2008
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