Wheeler endorses Garlin Gilchrist for city clerk

Former NAACP leader Heaster Wheeler has endorsed Garlin Gilchrist for Detroit city clerk after losing to him in the race during August’s primary.

Wheeler announced Monday that he was urging Detroiters who supported him in the primary to consider voting for Gilchrist in the general election.

Wheeler said in a release that he wanted to see “dramatic change and transformative leadership” in the clerk’s office.

He blamed City Clerk Janice Winfrey for the “abysmal” turnout in the August primary, saying the office failed to engage the community.

“I believe the clerk’s office should be a bully pulpit for voter engagement, increased access and fighting for more protections. We don’t have that now,” Wheeler said in the release. “I believe Mr. Gilchrist will bring that new energy and deep engagement that our community deserves.”

Winfrey could not immediately be reached for comment.

Wheeler praised Gilchrist for his plans to bring changes to the clerk’s office such as new polling places, training for poll workers and “new digital age and public involvement processes that allow every Detroiter to be heard, respected and responded to.”

Gilchrist said in the released that he was honored to have Wheeler’s support.

“He’s (Wheeler) been a strong and vocal advocate for the community throughout his life, and I look forward to working with him to make Detroiters’ voices heard,” Gilchrist said.

“Every Detroit voter needs to be confident their vote is counted and that barriers to voting are removed. It’s time to fix the broken system.”