Mayoral debate draws crowd, voters hear from two democratic candidates

NOW: Mayoral debate draws crowd, voters hear from two democratic candidates

SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- Incumbent South Bend Mayor James Mueller and challenger, Councilman Henry Davis Jr. faced off Wednesday in their first debate.

A crowd of almost 200 attended, with thousands more streaming online or watching on television.

"I thought overall, it was a good debate," said attendee Rhonda Redman. "They definitely have a difference of opinion on what's going on. Different perspectives."

The debate covered topics from infrastructure to economic development.

"I know Henry Davis is a firecracker, so I was interested to see how that debate went and it was interesting," said attendee Makeda Grier.

Mayor Mueller was trying to win over voters with his accomplishments as mayor.

"I have a proven track record of getting things done," Mueller said.

And Davis promised change.

"We have not lived a South Bend this mayor is talking about," Davis said. "Again, we're number one in crime."

But one topic both candidates focused on: crime in South Bend.

"We have to think outside the box, but we cannot continue to add more and more police to this problem," Davis said. "This problem has everything to do with economics and the social status of many of our south bend residents."

"There is hope, there is opportunity for them, going forward, they don't have to choose a path of violence," Mueller said. "But of course, if they do not choose to take those better paths of hope and opportunity, we need to come down and make sure we stop them, and take violent offenders off the streets."

Davis even apologized on behalf of the City of South Bend to Marcia Kittrell, the mother of a man shot by police this past July.

Some in attendance already know who's getting their vote in the May primary.

"I think it's going very well in Henry's favor. He is the candidate that I will be voting for," said attendee Pam Bryant.

"I would have to support Mueller," Redman said. "Personally, I'd like to support Pete, but he left us."

 And others are still on the fence, like Grier, who says she is still undecided.

"I think mayor Mueller held his own. I think Henry Davis had some important and interesting points bring up," she said. "And I'm just interested to see how this all plays out, I am."

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