DETROIT (FOX 2) - "I feel like right now this is Ralph Ellison’s 'Invisible Man' come to life. I’m here for you," quipped Martell Bivings.
But Bivings says more voters are opening their eyes and giving his candidacy a serious look headed into November when he’ll face off with State Rep. Shri Thanedar who eked out a victory in last week’s crowded Democratic Primary.
"In its entire 300-year history there’s never been a Black Republican and I think this is an opportunity to ask Detroiters, ‘What do you have to lose?’" he said.
Born and raised on Joy Road on the city’s west side, the GOP long shot and political scientist is banking on his Black card and Motown bona fides. He is also counting on the desire of some Detroiters to have an African-American congressman to give him a fighting chance with voters who he says, are concerned first and foremost with the economy.
"Our median income in this district is $30,000," he said. "I've got to create opportunities so we can have more emerging entrepreneurship, create more opportunities so our people can get into skilled trades and turn that into a private business and work for somebody else. It’s about getting back to Black economics, Black wall street. putting money in our pockets."
Bivings, who went to DPS schools and graduated from Howard University, a historically Black college, says he’s in-step with other issues important to Detroiters like police reform, voter rights, and reparations.
And in the event his party’s interests conflict with Detroiters' and Bivings says he’ll side with Detroiters. and that’s not all he says he is offering.
"My grandfather always said if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu - and the Republican Party will be the majority in January," he said. "And through the Detroit vote, I will be at the table on their behalf. Shri can’t offer them that."
But will that be enough for a Republican to flip a district that leans heavily democratic?
Detroit political consultant Adolph Mongo says the GOP brand carries too much of a stigma that not even Bivings can do away with.
"I'm glad he's in the race but he doesn't have a shot," said Mongo. "Don't get in a race when you know that you can't win."
Bivings says don’t count him out.
"Because the Democrats have went so far left and we have a candidate that most Detroiters just do not want," Bivings said. "And at a high level, he doesn't have the capability to do the work, (and) they are giving me a chance."