Detroit Mayoral Campaigns Heat Up; Bing Noncommittal on Re-Election

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As the deadline for entering Detroit's mayoral race looms on May 14, 2013, several contenders have thrown their hats into the ring. Incumbent Mayor Dave Bing hasn't said whether he'll run for re-election. On Thursday, he pulled petitions to run a mayoral campaign but still maintains he's undeclared, says the Michigan Chronicle.

Mayor Under Emergency Management

The big question for Detroit city government, says Bloomberg, is: What will the job of an elected mayor working under a state-appointed emergency manager entail? Some have posited that the mayoral race doesn't matter, given Kevyn Orr basically runs the city for the next 18 months. Orr took over Detroit reins in March as emergency financial manager. The mayor and city council still draw paychecks, per Orr's decision, reports The Detroit News. He said he needs local leaders' help in reshaping Detroit's finances.

Bing Campaign

Another question for candidates is how they will personally operate as mayor under state takeover. One candidate (if he chooses to run) has experience with this system: Bing. The mayor sees the job as accepting takeover and working as a team. He says EM opposition is counterproductive and that Detroit needs state involvement. But will he run for another stint under those circumstances? He'll need to collect 500 signatures in the next two weeks to do so. Picking up petitions is the "first step," he said, according to the Michigan Chronicle. Bloomberg says the mayor has less than 10 percent of voter support.

Larger Concerns for Mayor

Bloomberg says many Detroiters are more concerned about who'll take over after the takeover guy leaves. I spoke to Charles Brown, campaign staffer for Krystal Crittendon for Mayor of Detroit, who said his candidate's main objective will be to improve city and public services where state takeover failed. Brown said, "The so-called Consent Agreement [a prior agreement between Detroit and Michigan] has not improved services to the public health, safety, and welfare."

Two-Man Race

According to the Detroit Free Press, there are quite a few contestants for mayor. A poll conducted in mid-April by Main Street Strategies, a political advocacy and communications firm in Lansing, Michigan, showed Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, a former Detroit police chief, in the lead with 39-percent support. Mike Duggan, former county prosecutor and Detroit hospital exec, has 35 percent. Former state Rep. Lisa Howze garnered 9 percent; former Detroit city attorney Crittendon, 7 percent; and state Rep. Fred Durhal Jr., 4 percent. Three-time mayoral contender Tom Barrow is running again, says the Detroit News. He cornered 5 percent.

An educator and Michigan native, Marilisa Sachteleben writes about politics, education, economy, and quality of life in her state's most pivotal city of Detroit.

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