LeDuff: The week that changed it all for Mike the Barber - My9 New Jersey

LeDuff: The week that changed it all for Mike the Barber

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Mike Dugeon is running as a write-in candidate for Detroit mayor. Mike Dugeon is running as a write-in candidate for Detroit mayor.

Off the Chain Editorial
By Charlie LeDuff, FOX 2 News


DETROIT (WJBK) -- Mike Dugeon, the barber and write-in candidate for mayor, was carjacked late Wednesday at gunpoint.

Who would want a battered 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix? Suspicious.

For the record: I did not hire the two bandits to stick him up. Nor did the bandits threaten Dugeon with a "drop out of the race or else" ultimatum. Nor did Mike Duggan's people drop by Dugeon's barbershop or house and offer Dugeon $500 to get out of the race. Nor did representatives from the Tom Barrow or Benny Napoleon camps offer him money to stay in.

"It was just some random crime in the neighborhood most likely," Dugeon told me from his porch. "It's what I wanted to talk about in the first place. Life in the neighborhood."

What a difference a week makes in politics.

When I dropped by Dugeon's house last week on a tip that he was a Benny Napoleon stooge paid to mess up Mike Duggan's write-in campaign, Dugeon told me it was a preposterous rumor. But the idea appealed to him and he jumped in of his own accord.

Why? Because no one in the crop of mayoral candidates has said boo about people living in the neighborhoods outside of midtown. Good people who are the victims of crime and municipal mismanagement. People like Mike Dugeon, who gets a gun stuffed in his face at the corner store and his car taken away.

But Dugeon was ridiculed. Berated. Put down. They made fun of his Facebook posts: so he likes a tall drink and long woman, who the hell doesn't? Dugeon says he was not invited to Tuesday's mayoral debate.

Then he becomes a random victim of crime. It's caught on videotape and now they're listening. Suddenly, Dugeon is not a clown. He is a symbol.

To his credit, Dugeon, 31, is not bitter. He's smarter. After his crash course in media and politics, he sees it for what it is: a dirty game populated by self-important navel-gazers who try telling you the temperature of the swamp from way up on the veranda.

Mike Dugeon, the son of a doctor, has also learned that the only way to get people to take you seriously is to take yourself seriously.

"I can't go back to being Mike the Barber," he said. "There's nothing wrong with being a barber. I just realize I got something more in me. I'm going to go back to school."

Good for Mike. I'm proud of him. Taking stock and seizing the moment. That's a real man.

And who knows? Maybe we will see him in the 2017 race.

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