CHICAGO -- The former chief of the Detroit Medical Center and the Wayne County sheriff will face off in November to be Detroit’s mayor, a post that will hold little power until late 2014 at the earliest.
Mike Duggan, the former CEO of the medical center, one of the city’s largest employers, surprised many by winning the most votes in Tuesday’s primary despite campaigning as a write-in candidate.
Duggan was considered the front runner when he first joined the race early this year, but later was forced out by a successful challenge over whether he had lived in the city for at least a year.
He will face Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, a former Wayne County executive who has served as sheriff since 2009. Napoleon was also Detroit’s police chief for three years.
The two won the most votes out of a field of 13. Mayor Dave Bing did not run for re-election. Turnout was estimated at 18%.
The primary came three weeks after Detroit, under the control of state-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr, filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy.
In March, Gov. Rick Snyder appointed Orr to the post, where he will likely remain until at least September 2014 under the 18-month tenure established for emergency managers under state law. With the emergency manager in place, the mayor has little authority.
Snyder said Wednesday that the large number of accurate write-in votes for Duggan shows Detroiters are engaged and interested in the future of the city. “That people took the time to do that showed there obviously are a lot of citizens who care, which is a good thing,” Snyder was quoted as saying in local reports.
In other Michigan primary races Tuesday, two cities under emergency management and one that recently emerged from state control saw newcomers beat incumbent mayors. Statewide, voters approved nearly 75% of property tax increase requests, according to local reports.
In Allen Park, under state control since late 2012, voters approved a property tax increase to fund public safety.
The city is struggling with a myriad of fiscal problems, chief among them $31 million of bond debt for a failed film studio. Voters have twice rejected tax increases to pay off the bond debt.
In Pontiac, a suburb of Detroit that has been under emergency management since 2009, Deirdre Waterman, the chairman of the city’s library board, will face incumbent Mayor Leon Jukowski, who has supported the emergency management process, for the mayor’s post in November.
In another state-controlled Detroit suburb, Hamtramck, which the state took over in June, city council member Abdul Algazali won more votes than incumbent mayor Karen Majewski, beating out two other candidates. The two will face each other in November.
The state in May released Ecorse from formal management, and in that city, retired police officer Lamar Tidwell beat incumbent mayor Darcel Brown by a handful of votes.