Mike Duggan, one of Detroit's two top mayoral contenders, was ruled ineligible to run on the August 6 primary ballot. Duggan appealed that decision, and the Michigan Court of Appeals upheld the earlier decision today, says the Detroit Free Press. Residency issues caused Duggan to be removed from the ballot.
Duggan and Detroit Charter Residency Requirements
Duggan was originally found to be in violation of residency status requirements last week, says Crain's Detroit Business. The issue rested on wording in Detroit's city charter, which says any candidate seeking a publicly elected office must be a U.S. citizen and "a resident and a qualified and registered voter of the City of Detroit for one year at the time of filing for office." What's unclear is whether that stipulation means that a candidate must be a resident when he files his paperwork or only by the filing deadline. Duggan bought a house in the Detroit neighborhood of Palmer Woods in March 2012 after moving from suburban Livonia, Michigan, says Bloomberg. He turned in his mayoral campaign paperwork on April 2, 2012, but didn't register to vote till April 16. The filing deadline was May 14.
Dispute Over Charter Stipulations
Several legal entities have interpreted charter requirements differently. On May 23, Crain's Detroit Business says the Detroit Elections Commission cleared Duggan to run based on the fact that he'd registered by the filing deadline. Legal advisers agreed. Then, Tom Barrow, four-time mayoral contender and current candidate, appealed that decision in Circuit Court. Judge Lita Popke struck Duggan off the ballot, saying the charter meant when paperwork is submitted. Duggan took it to the appellate court, hoping to get Judge Popke's decision overturned. The Court of Appeals agreed to speed up the decision, as absentee ballots need to go out by June 22. Today, they said by a 2-1 vote that Duggan had failed to meet qualifications for elected office clearly laid out in the charter, reports the Detroit Free Press. Duggan says he'll review his options and announce his decision soon.
A popular mayoral pick, Duggan has long been faulted by other candidates for not being in touch with Detroit. Barrow called him an "outsider" and accused Duggan of bigotry, says Bloomberg. The We Party quoted candidate Benny Napoleon, Wayne County sheriff, saying, "Detroit is not my hobby -- it is my home" in reference to Duggan's recent move to the city.
Duggan was born in Detroit and worked most of his life in the city. His family moved away when he was a child.
Duggan leaving the race could have major impacts on the election. In late May, the Detroit Free Press said he was neck and neck with Napoleon, per a Detroit Free Press/WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) poll. EPIC-MRA of Lansing gave each 40 percent of the vote in mid-May.
Of the 10 remaining candidates, the next most popular are Barrow and former Detroit lead attorney Krystal Crittendon, each with only 3 percent in the late May poll.
An educator, political junkie, and Michigan native, Marilisa Sachteleben writes about issues in her state's most pivotal city of Detroit.
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