The polls think he could be. I usually avoid reading anything about the latest twists and turns in Detroit's embarrassing mayoral mess, but I'm glad I made an exception this morning. From Daniel Howes of the Detroit News:
A new poll for Detroit Renaissance, to be released today, suggests how that race might shape up: Dave Bing, the former Pistons great turned industrialist, would beat all likely comers in a special election to replace Kilpatrick. Some 72 percent of those polled believe Detroit would be better off with someone other than Kwame Kilpatrick as mayor, and 75 percent say the city charter should be amended to elect council members by district.
[...] In a head-to-head race with Kilpatrick, Bing holds a commanding 77.5 percent to 15 percent lead. In a four-way race including Kilpatrick, Wayne County Sheriff Warren Evans and Kilpatrick's general counsel, Sharon McPhail, Bing polls 57.5 percent, with Evans coming in second at 17.5 percent.
[...] "The numbers I've heard are high," Bing told me Tuesday, adding that he hasn't seen the poll results. As he told me two weeks ago, he says a final decision on whether to run depends on extricating himself from his $1.3 million investment in the $58 million Watermark luxury condo development on the riverfront.
"The feedback I got was very positive" about a likely run for mayor, Bing says. "But you've got to perform. You've got to deliver results. That's what my life's been about, so that doesn't scare me."
Bing needs no introduction among Pistons fans, but it's worth pointing out to those who only know him for his Hall of Fame career that he's been just as successful in the business world as he was in the NBA.
He's been investing in Detroit real estate for years, and his automotive supply company, The Bing Group, is one of the most successful minority-owned businesses in the entire country. It's a privately-held company so exact financial numbers are hard to come by, but it had an annual revenue of $344 million in 2002 and was projected to hit $1 billion by 2008. And to top it all off, he's remained committed to keeping his business in Detroit, even when most other companies have sought greener pastures (and higher profit margins) elsewhere.
There was talk last month that Bing might throw his hat in the ring, and after seeing these polling numbers, I think it's time for me to start paying closer attention.