The Detroit mayor’s race has been unofficially underway for months.
But former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan was the first to file the paperwork to get his name on the August primary ballot Tuesday.
Candidates need at least 500 petition signatures to get on the ballot.
Unofficially, the mayor’s race is a crowded field of at least a half-dozen. That's despite the fact that Detroit has an emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, which effectively sidelines the mayor and city council.
Duggan insists an emergency manager can't do a long-term turnaround for Detroit. He maintains he’s the guy who can come up with a real turnaround team—and a plan so persuasive he insists it will convince Governor Snyder to remove Orr sooner rather than later.
Duggan says he’s focused on two things at once right now: running his campaign, and coming up with that plan.
“We have a Governor who does exactly what he wants to do,” Duggan said. “So putting together the plan, and putting together the coalition, to persuade him to get rid of the emergency manager…I think
will be a bigger challenge than winning the election.”
Duggan just moved to Detroit about a year ago. But he’s gone on a “listening tour” all over the city, and thinks he’s built up grassroots support that way.
“If I could meet everybody in this city over the next six to seven months, I would win easily,” he said. “And I’m going to come as close to that as I possibly can.”
Despite being one of Snyder’s appointees to the state-run Education Achievement Authority, Duggan said he has “no special relationship” with the governor, adding that he considers the question irrelevant to Detroit's comeback.
“The city will come back much faster if you have a turnaround mayor with a turnaround team that’s committed to this city, for four years," Duggan insisted. "That’s going to be the persuasive argument… I don’t think anything’s going to happen off of personal relationships.”
Duggan’s chief rival in the mayor’s race is Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon.
Napoleon has taken some pointed jabs at Duggan noting that, “Detroit is my home, not my hobby.”
Besides Duggan and Napoleon, State Representative Fred Durhal, former State Representative Lisa Howze, and former Corporation Counsel Krystal Crittendon are among the other announced candidates for Detroit mayor.