Nothing is simple: Detroit's race for mayor
August 6th, 2013
10:49 AM ET
8 months ago

Nothing is simple: Detroit's race for mayor

(CNN) – Detroit gets just a little more dysfunctional Tuesday as 16 different individuals vie to become what has become just the second most powerful person in the now-bankrupt city. Further complicating matters, one of the front runners isn't even on the ballot.

After Tuesday's primary vote, two finalists will go on to face off in the Nov. 5 general election.

Of the 16 mayoral hopefuls, only 14 are actually on the ballot. One of those missing is also considered one of the frontrunners, Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan, who was disqualified from the ballot because he filed to run too early, before he'd lived in Detroit for the full year required.

Undaunted, Duggan has raised $1.2 million in his write-in bid, according to the Detroit Free Press.

A main thrust of Duggan's campaign has been to get people to know his name, rather than fall into a measure of apathy and simply choose among the contenders actually on the ballot. His campaign even has a jingle out meant to ensure precisely that. "We want every Detroit voter to know how to spell Mike's name as instinctively as their own," the campaign said in a blog post.

Further complicating Duggan's run is the other write-in candidate with a remarkably similar name, barber Mike Dugeon.

Of the mayoral contenders actually on the ballot, Duggan's closest competitor is believed to be former Detroit Police Chief and current Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon. The Detroit Free Press reports that Napoleon has raised $600,000.

In addition to the mayor's race, 54 candidates are on the ballot for nine city council seats, seven for specific districts and two at-large seats.

Whoever wins the November mayoral race will inherit the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. They will succeed Mayor Dave Bing – who has chosen not to run for reelection – in working with state appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr. He is the one really pulling the strings of power in Detroit.

Orr was appointed emergency manager by Michigan's Republican Governor Rick Snyder in March and oversaw the city's bankruptcy filing last month. The filing came after Snyder and city officials decided Detroit could not meet its $11.5 billion in liabilities, particularly associated with pension benefits and healthcare as well as unsecured debt owed to investors.

There has been little indication that the federal government will intervene in Detroit's bankruptcy, a move a majority of Americans oppose.

Why Obama won't bail out Detroit


Filed under: Michigan
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Data Driven

    The transition from large city to large town is clearly painful. A team of financial and public-works experts could maybe pull it off.

    August 6, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  2. Wake up People!

    I knew Foxlite didn't want the opinion of a native Detroiter.....

    August 6, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  3. Wake up People!

    Mike Duggan will be Mayor. Snyder and Dillon have already decided. The election is a farce. None of the rules were followed.

    This will come to pass, just like the right to work for less.
    There's no democracy in Michigan. Wealthy suburbanites making the decisions about a city they only step foot in for Red Wings and Lions games.

    August 6, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Detroit's population has declined by a couple hundred thousand over the past few years. The decline in population means less sales tax revenue. Fewer people means fewer homeowners paying property taxes. Fewer people means local businesses suffer the same as the City of Detroit. Fewer businesses means fewer jobs and less investment.

    Who's to blame? I don't think that there is any one "who" out there to blame. Detroit is a victim of the times. A declining auto industry, declining tourism, declining private investment, and poor management to foresee and confront these issues.

    August 6, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    I doubt Detroit can be saved. When Dems self destruct, there is little hope of salvaging the situation. It is too far gone.

    August 6, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  6. Wake up People!

    The end of the Auto Industry is what did it. Once they started closing plants, everyone was out of a job. But never fear, the Auto execs are Paid in Full!

    August 6, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  7. A True Conservative

    Detroit – a perfect example of what Democratic and union leadership will produce after years of being in charge! Go ahead "progressives" – try to argue that Detroit is somehow a success story for Democratic leadership. Maybe Detroit is all the fault of conservatives – that seems to be the left’s response to their every failure!

    August 6, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  8. Rudy NYC

    Nice picture of GM headquarters. Buried behind all of that stuff in the center of the picture should be the historic Hotel Pontchartrain, with Cobo Arena Center directly across the street. I used to judge hotels by the quality of a club sandwich from room service. The "mother of moters" did not dissappoint. They brought me a sandwich that had 6 corners, instead of the usual 4.

    Speaking of food. Some of you old timers might remember the SNL "Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger" skit from the '70s. There used to be a hamburger joint that had to be the inspiration for it in the right side of the picture where the angled streets are. The place was near the corner with a front door on one street, and a back door on another street. Imagine a long skinny room with a counter on one side. a bare wall on the other side, and doors at either end. It was always loud, packed, and very tasty.

    August 6, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  9. Rudy NYC

    A True Conservative

    Detroit – a perfect example of what Democratic and union leadership will produce after years of being in charge! Go ahead "progressives" – try to argue that Detroit is somehow a success story for Democratic leadership. Maybe Detroit is all the fault of conservatives – that seems to be the left’s response to their every failure!
    -------------–
    Bravo. Denial, spoken like a true conservative. You don't think at least some of Detroit's financial problems had anything to do with the auto industry? The city's annual revenue is nearly half of what it was a decade ago. Do you remember the conservative types who showed up in D.C. asking the government to bail them out back in 2009? Do you remember Mitt Romney saying let Detroit go bankrupt?

    August 6, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  10. just sayin

    who wants to be mayor of a bankrupt and decaying urban democrat cesspool??? the only real solution to decades of democrat corruption and mismanagment is bulldozers. half of the city has been torn down already and they claim there are 78,000 vacant buldings that need to be torn down so people don't set them on fire.

    detriot is the bright future that democrats/liberals/progressives have in store for the entire country. pillage and loot until everybody leaves and the place implodes.

    August 6, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  11. it must be said

    Rudy NYC
    Who's to blame? I don't think that there is any one "who" out there to blame. Detroit is a victim of the times. A declining auto industry, declining tourism, declining private investment, and poor management to foresee and confront these issues.
    -–

    Oh of course this couldn't be because of the decades of Democrat and union mismanagement and corruption? The reaosn they are bankrupt is largely from their unfunded union health and pension benefits. The Detriot death spiral is ENTIRELY attributable to the Democrats and the unions and their corrupt affiliation that allows them to line their pockets at the tax payers expense. Well, it looks like people just decided to vote with their feet and took their wallets with them.

    August 6, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  12. rs

    Rick McDaniel

    I doubt Detroit can be saved. When Dems self destruct, there is little hope of salvaging the situation. It is too far gone.
    ______________________
    Ummm, Rick? The City of Detroit has been run by a Republican-appointed overseer for the past two years. This overseer's authority supercededs that of the City Council or the Mayor's office. Until such time as the Republican Governor of the State of Michigan returns control of the city to its citizens, it is as if the city is being run out of the Republican Governor's office. So whose fault is it?

    August 6, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  13. Data Driven

    To the conservatives crowing about Detroit's failures: sure you want to go there? The old Confederacy is an entire failing REGION of the USA, and who's been running that show? Republicans.

    Cuidado, conservatives.

    August 6, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  14. rs

    JS, TC and RM. And please illuminate how much better off Detroit would have been with Republicans clamoring to let GM go under 4 years back?
    The problem with Detroit is the loss of industry (and jobs- China anyone?). You calls to cripple the middle class ring very hollow.

    August 6, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  15. Wake up People!

    Thank you rs!

    And might I add our republican governor has already picked our new Mayor. It will be Mike Duggan.

    August 6, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |