Westland Mayor William Wild is about to get some help from a heavy hitter in his campaign to replace Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano.
Bill Ford Jr., executive chairman of Ford Motor Co., is hosting a March 28 fundraiser for the candidate, the Detroit Free Press reports.
Wild, a Democrat, announced in January that he wants Ficano’s job.
Ford is an influential figure among business and civic leaders throughout Michigan, and has been an active member of the boards of the Detroit Economic Club and Business Leaders.
The newspaper said it’s rare for Ford to publicly support a local candidate, though he has supported candidates for federal and state office, including U.S. Rep. John Dingell, a Democrat, and Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.
About 3,000 invitations are being issued for the $250-a-plate breakfast at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center in Dearborn, where Ford’s world headquarters are located. A VIP reception for donors giving $500 will precede the general event.
The Democratic primary to replace Ficano, whose administration has been besieged by controversy, is quickly becoming crowded. Ficano hasn’t yet said whether he will seek another term, but has been raising money, the Free Press said.
State Rep. Phil Cavanagh, a Redford Township Democrat, has announced he’s a candidate. Wayne County Commissioner Kevin McNamara is also running.
In an email to the newspaper, Ford explained he’s supporting Wild because of his business acumen and leadership during a difficult economic period. Wild led his family-owned automotive recycling business before he was elected Westland mayor in 2007
“He is an experienced businessman with strong executive skills and a solid public servant who has made a positive impact on the city of Westland,” Ford wrote. “His strong background and experience make him a good candidate for Wayne County Executive.”
Wild intends to raise $1.5 million for the campaign and had more money – $242,950 – in his campaign coffers than the other declared candidates in the January reporting period.
At the end of 2013, Ficano had $318,633 in his campaign treasury and $85,762 in his political action committee, the newspaper said.