Mike Duggan

Benny Napoleon / Facebook

Mike Duggan leads Benny Napoleon by a nearly 2 to 1 margin, according to a recent Deadline Detroit's poll of 500 likely voters (margin of error +/- 4.5%):

Fifty-eight percent of likely voters surveyed said they would vote for Duggan, while 32 percent said they would cast their ballot for Napoleon, the poll showed.

Ten percent of those surveyed said they are undecided, which is not good news for Napoleon; even if he managed to take all the undecided votes, he would still fall short of Duggan’s total.

A Detroit Free Press/WXYZ poll found a similar result last month.

Election day is 10 days away.

 Detroiters will elect a new mayor in less than two weeks—but the candidates are being pretty tame.

Former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan and Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon found little to disagree about during a Detroit Economic Club forum Wednesday.

Both agreed that Detroit shouldn’t look to sell or regionalize city assets—although Detroit emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, could make those moves anyway.

In four weeks, Detroit will choose a new mayor. Some people are saying this is a fairly meaningless exercise. After all, everything is now controlled by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.  Orr, and Federal Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes.

But within a year, city council will regain the power to take back control of Detroit for itself and the mayor. By that time, or soon after, the bankruptcy too should be over. So who the mayor is and what he does will matter -- perhaps more than ever.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Each week, I review the news with political analyst Jack Lessenberry.

This week we discuss how the government shutdown will affect Michigan, new endorsements in the Detroit mayor's race, and the state agreement to fund Belle Isle.

DugganforDetroit.com

Detroit's police and firefighters have each chosen their pick for mayor.

As Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek reported, the police want Napoleon.

And the firefighters want Duggan.

The announcement was made earlier this week in front of a shuddered fire station - the Ladder 19 station in Detroit:

More from Deadline Detroit:

Ladder 19 illustrates some the problems the department faces. The department left the station dark for periods of time, and the downtime lead to repeated lootings of the facility, which is now unusable.

“At a time when Detroit’s future is literally being shaped amidst financial turmoil, Mike’s commitment to the security and safety of the public and our members was critical to him winning our endorsement,” Teresa Sanderfer, Local 344’s Secretary, said in a statement. 

Polls show Duggan with a lead over Napoleon - with 26% "undecided."

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Officials involved in a recount of votes in Detroit's mayoral primary have sent some ballots for review of possible fraud.

The Detroit Free Press reports the Wayne County Board of Canvassers went through absentee ballots Tuesday and found some where write-in candidate Mike Duggan's name had been typed, some cast using pencil and some on which corrective fluid was used.

The board voted to send the ballots that had Duggan's name typed to prosecutors and a judge for review.

mich.gov / Michigan Government

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing will finish his term at the end of the year, and according to Matt Helms of the Detroit Free Press, Bing is going out feeling frustrated.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A group representing more than 12,000 city retirees has endorsed Mike Duggan for Detroit mayor.

The Detroit Retired City Employee Organization is throwing its weight behind Duggan because, according to member John Eddings, “The city needs to get it right this time.”

“And looking at the candidates, there’s only one person who has the demonstrated ability to take care of the problems that we have,” Eddings said. “And that person is Mike Duggan.”

Mike Duggan

The field for the next mayor of Detroit has been whittled down to two. Benny Napoleon, former Wayne County Sheriff and Mike Duggan, former CEO of Detroit Medical Center.

Duggan recently released his 10 point plan focused on rebuilding Detroit neighborhoods. 

One big issue facing Detroit is the amount of abandoned buildings, and how sparsely populated the city is now, which makes it difficult to provide services. Duggan joined us today to talk his ideas for addressing that problem. 

"If you’re in an area where you are down to a couple of houses per block, what we want to do is create incentives so that those houses that we cease in densely occupied blocks can be made available to people who would relocate from the block that only have one or two houses left and I think in a positive way we can convince people to move from the declining neighborhoods to the neighborhoods that are stable," he said.

They finally certified the result of the Detroit mayoral primary election yesterday, almost a month after the vote.

Unfortunately, what went on demonstrates conclusively that neither the county nor the city can be trusted to run elections. The state, if not the federal government, needs to come in and run Detroit’s general election in November.

The primary result itself was stunning, as we learned on election night. More than half the voters wrote in the name Mike Duggan. For any candidate to win as a write-in is almost unheard of.

But in this case, Duggan is a white man who moved into a nearly all-black city to run for mayor. I figured his ego had gotten the better of him. But I was wrong, and the most inspiring thing is this: Detroiters proved all those who said they were incapable of rising above race prejudice are dead wrong.

cncphotos / flickr

It's Wednesday, the morning we speak with Michigan Radio's Political Analyst Jack Lessenberry about what's going on in state politics.

This week Lessenberry and Christina Shockley discuss the approval of a Medicaid expansion in Michigan, Governor Rick Snyder's trade mission to Asia, and Duggan becoming the official front runner of the Detroit mayoral race.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Medicaid expansion awaits Governor Snyder's signature

The state House took final action yesterday to approve a Medicaid expansion in Michigan. It now awaits Governor Rick Snyder's signature. However, the bill does not have immediate effect, meaning it won’t start until the spring, instead of in January. The delay will cost the state $7 million a day in federal funds.

Duggan is the official winner of Detroit mayoral primary

"The board of state canvassers has declared Mike Duggan the winner of Detroit’s mayoral primary. The state took over the issue after Wayne County elections officials threw out thousands of write-in votes based on how they had been tabulated. Duggan was a write-in candidate. The state restored more than 24-thousand votes to Duggan, giving him a big margin of victory over Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Detroit EM says casino money is key for Detroit

"Detroit's state-appointed emergency manager testified that access to casino tax revenues is key to the city staying afloat financially. During the deposition, Kevyn Orr said he has 'no plans to use art to relieve the liquidity crisis that the city is in now,'" the Associated Press reports.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Michigan board of state canvassers has declared Mike Duggan the winner of Detroit’s mayoral primary.

The Wayne County Board of Canvassers had Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon winning the race. But they declined to certify the election, passing it up to the state.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

 This week, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss the Detroit Public Schools student quota, Washtenaw County’s identification card plan that includes undocumented immigrants, and the continuing campaigns of Detroit mayoral candidates Benny Napoleon and Mike Duggan.

Detroit Public Schools trying to meet enrollment goal

The Detroit Public School district is depending on enrolling 5,000 more students for the 2013-2014 school year.  If the district doesn’t meet its goal, they will lose millions of dollars in funding from the per-pupil-allowance from the state.  Jack Lessenberry says that Detroit used to enroll almost 200,000 students thirteen years ago.  They now only enroll 46,000.  Lessenberry says “they’ve been going door-to-door trying various gimmicks, of course those are sort of dubious too, to get kids to come back.  But it’s all about how many bodies they have in seats on Count Day.”

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Court of Appeals has reversed an order that would have prevented state officials from certifying Detroit’s mayoral primary.

The state stepped in after the Wayne County Board of Canvassers passed on certifying the election because of a dispute over how write-in votes were marked and counted.

User: Brother O'Mara / Flickr

Governor Snyder pushes to expedite Medicaid expansion

A bill to expand Medicaid in Michigan passed the state Senate by a narrow vote earlier this week. But a vote to make those changes by January 1, 2014 failed.  This means that thousands of people will have to wait until spring to receive health coverage.  Michigan Radio’s Rick Pluta reports that Governor Rick Snyder hopes the Senate will revisit the issue as soon as Tuesday.

Deadline approaches for Detroit Public Schools recruitment

As the school year quickly approaches, Detroit Public Schools are running out of time to recruit new students.  Michigan Radio’s Kate Wells reports that the district’s summer goal was to gain 5,000 new students. If DPS does not meet this goal it may lose millions, resulting in possible layoffs and program cuts.  The district is currently retaining 93% of their students.

Detroit mayoral candidates continue campaign

Detroit mayoral candidates Mike Duggan and Benny Napoleon are continuing their campaigns while primary election drama settles out.  Michigan Radio’s Sarah Cwiek  reports  that both candidates “are trying to position themselves as champions of Detroit neighborhoods.” Duggan is rolling out a neighborhood plan to reduce blight, while Napoleon is accusing him of being tied to “downtown corporate interests.”

 After a post-primary lull, the Detroit mayor’s race is heating up again—with each candidate positioning himself as the champion of the city’s neighborhoods.

While the State Board of Canvassers sorts out who actually won the primary, Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan and Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon jumped back into the spotlight this week.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State elections officials will re-tabulate some of the votes cast in Detroit’s mayoral primary.

But they won’t throw out thousands of write-in votes because of how election workers marked them.

That’s good news for candidate Mike Duggan, who according to unofficial results was the top vote-getter in the August 6th primary.

But Duggan ran as a write-in candidate. And different election workers marked those votes differently—some with numbers, others with hash marks.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

This week, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss the certification of Detroit’s mayoral primary results, the Detroit ACLU’s case against the FBI, and a union’s “fee-for-service” for employee grievances.

Photograph courtesy of the votebenson.com website

As you've likely heard by now, a state election panel will have to decide the official outcome of Detroit's mayoral primary. That's because Wayne County's election board refused to certify the election. It should be noted that the county election board acted on the very last day before the deadline to certify the election.

The controversy centers on some 20,000 write-in votes that may have been incorrectly marked by Detroit poll workers.

Former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan appeared to win the primary handily over Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon.

Despite running as a write-in candidate, Duggan won by about 16 points, according to unofficial results.

But if these almost 20,000 write-in votes get thrown out, the two winners would switch places, with  Napoleon coming out on top, and former Detroit Medical Center Mike Duggan finishing second.

Whatever the outcome, Duggan and Napoleon will face off in November.

But this drama raises many concerns, including the ability of Detroit poll workers to do their jobs properly, whether there needs to be a recount, and whether---as suggested by Benny Napoleon--the U.S. Department of Justice needs to babysit the big November election.

Jocelyn Benson, interim dean of Wayne State University's law school and an expert in Michigan's constitutional and election law, joined us today to help us sort this all out.

Listen to the full interview above.

City of Detroit

The Detroit city clerk is dropping responsibility for Detroit’s mayoral primary debacle squarely in Wayne County’s lap.

The Wayne County Board of Canvassers declined to certify the election results Tuesday.

Discrepancies between how some poll workers tallied votes on precinct worksheets put almost 20,000 votes for write-in candidate Mike Duggan in jeopardy.

Based on unofficial results, Duggan won the primary handily over Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon. But discounting those votes would have made Napoleon the winner.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The state will take the extremely rare step of stepping in to certify the results of Detroit’s mayoral primary. That’s after a Wayne County elections board refused to count 18,000 write-in ballots because they were improperly marked by poll workers. Michigan’s Elections Director Chris Thomas says those ballots should be counted.

Lily Tomlin and Oliver Cromwell have nothing in common, as far as I know.  But I thought of both this morning when I was considering the news from Detroit and Lansing.

Tomlin years ago came up with a perfect line to describe the latest twist in the Detroit elections mess.  “No matter how cynical you get, you can’t keep up.”

That was exactly the case when the Wayne County Board of Canvassers met to certify the totals in the Detroit mayoral primary election two weeks ago. There should have been no mystery about the results. Mike Duggan had been ruled off the ballot on a technicality, but won in a write-in landslide.  He got nearly twice as many votes as his closest competitor, Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon. But Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett yesterday announced she was throwing out nearly half of Duggan’s votes, because poll workers merely recorded them, rather than make a hashtag mark next to them.

Not only did this cavalierly disenfranchise twenty thousand voters, it looks and smells highly suspect. Cathy Garrett is the sister of Al Garrett, a prominent union official who is one of Benny Napoleon’s biggest backers.

Now her decision would not have changed the lineup for the November runoff. It will still be between Duggan and Napoleon. But Garrett’s maneuver would have allowed Napoleon’s backers to claim he “won” a primary he actually lost.

User: Brother O'Mara / Flickr

Author Elmore Leonard dies

Detroit writer Elmore Leonard passed away yesterday at age 87.  Michigan Radio’s Kate Wells reports that Leonard was the author of 45 novels and was in the middle of number 46 when he suffered a stroke earlier this summer.  Leonard’s work has often been adapted to well-known films such as 3:10 to Yuma, Out of Sight, and the television series Justified.

Detroit mayoral race has ballot counting issues

In Detroit’s mayoral race earlier this month, Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan appeared to have a clear 16-point lead over Wayne County Sherriff Benny Napoleon.  But now the results are being questioned because of ballot counting inconsistencies.  Michigan Radio’s Sarah Cwiek reports that “votes are customarily counted with hash marks but some election workers used numbers instead.” 

Grand Rapids Public Schools show improvement

Some Grand Rapids Public Schools have had difficulty meeting Michigan state educational standards for the past few years.  Union High School previously hovered in the lowest one percent of schools in the state.  It has now pulled itself up to within the lowest ten percent.  Michigan Radio’s Lindsay Smith reports that the district’s superintendent said “it wasn’t just the district; this really has been a community effort.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Update 5:54 p.m.

The state will settle the issue of who really won the Detroit mayoral primary election earlier this month, after the Wayne County Board of Canvassers declined to certify the results.

At issue are about 18,000 votes, and a controversy over how they were counted.

Apparently votes are customarily counted with hash marks, but some election workers used numbers instead.  If the votes with numbers get thrown out, the two winners would switch places, with Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon coming out on top, and former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan finishing second. 

Rather than certifying the election, the Wayne County Board of Canvassers has asked the state Bureau of Elections to settle the question. A spokesman for the state says the last time a county board failed to certify an election was the 1980s.  

Whatever the outcome, Duggan and Napoleon will face off in November. 

Update 4:57 p.m.

Matt Helms and Joe Guillen of the Detroit Free Press report that the Wayne County Board of Canvassers is debating whether to toss 18,000 votes from the August 6th Detroit mayoral election.

The Freep reports that Mike Duggan's legal team says they'll fight any results where that many votes are not counted:

“It’s the most outrageous, disgraceful thing I’ve seen in 20 years of observing elections,” said Melvin “Butch” Hollowell, legal counsel for Mike Duggan. “This is worse than Bush versus Gore.”

He said Duggan’s team has appealed to the Michigan Bureau of Elections for an answer, and would challenge any certification that did not include the left-out numbers.

And from the same piece, Benny Napoleon said the controversy calls into question the whole election process in Detroit and is calling for federal oversight of the general election:

“A citizen’s vote is the cornerstone of Democracy, and people should be able to put their faith in their ballot,” Napoleon, who finished second in the mayoral primary to Duggan, said in a statement.

“This is no small margin of error. This is very troubling and I believe it is cause for Detroit’s General Election to be overseen by the highest authority — either the Federal Elections Commission or the Department of Justice, Napoleon said. 

4:09 p.m.

Area newsrooms are working to find out what happened to all the write-in votes cast for Mike Duggan. WXYZ-TV reports thousands of Duggan votes were not counted because of a difference between how the city and the county tallies votes:

A county election official told the board the remaining votes were not counted because city election workers improperly tallied them. According to a state law, the city no longer has canvass board. Instead, elections must be certified by the county.

The county uses hash-marks to tally votes. Instead, city election workers used numbers to tally some of the votes. Since numbers were used and not hash marks, they were uncounted.

WXYZ reports the county board of canvassers has yet to to certify the election results, "but it was scheduled to take a vote to do so this afternoon."


3:47 p.m.

On August 6, everyone thought that Mike Duggan won the Detroit mayoral primary. 

We interviewed him, and Duggan had already started outlining his plans as Mayor of Detroit.

But today, the Detroit News is reporting that the Wayne County Board of Canvassers said that Benny Napoleon won the mayoral primary.

Two weeks ago, we thought Napolean had come in second. 

According to the Detroit News, the Board of Canvassers announced that Napoleon won with 28,391 votes. Duggan got 23,970. 

The News said that Lisa Howze, a former State Representative and a mayoral candidate who came in 4th in the race, will endorse Duggan for mayor:

She said she is supporting Duggan because they share the same vision about the neighborhood investment and economic development, adding that Duggan has the "tenacity and know-how to make relationships in the community" to get the job done as mayor. 

The panel upheld several different versions of write-in votes cast for Duggan: Mike Duggnn, Mick E. Duggan, Milk Duggan, Mr. Duggan, and Mike Duggan "the Whiteman" were some of the variations submitted.

If these results are upheld, it won't change who will appear on the ballot this November in the Detroit mayoral election. It would only change who we understand to be the top vote-getter in the August 6th primary.

*This post is being updated

-- Lucy Perkins, Michigan Radio Newsroom

user aMichiganMom / Flickr

This "week in review," Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss the Detroit primary results, the future of the DIA collection, and prison sentencing reform in Michigan.

Mike Duggan sweeps the primary vote

Mike Duggan's write-in campaign ended this week with surprising success. 85 percent of voters who wrote in his name spelled it correctly resulting in a huge lead for the Detroit mayoral contender.

Jack Lessenberry says, "It'll remain to be seen what happens in November.  One thing we know is that a lot more people will vote."

DIA collection appraised by Christie's Auction House

The Detroit Institute of Arts collection has been put at risk by Detroit's bankruptcy. The city invited Christie's Auction House to appraise the collection, perhaps simply to take inventory of its assets.

Lessenberry thinks that people are panicked about the possible sale of the art.  He says "the Attorney General thinks it's not constitutional, although if a federal bankruptcy judge says it is, federal law trumps state law."

Michigan considers parole and sentencing reform

Conservative lawmakers are considering overhauling prison sentences.  State Representative Joe Haveman is leading the cause, citing that harsher sentences are not keeping us any safer.

Lessenberry says, "Michigan locks up more people, locks them up for longer, and it costs us more.  It costs $34,000 per prisoner and we have 44,000 prisoners."

Patricia Drury / Flickr

The primary election of 2013 is history. Now the focus shifts to the November general election.

For the two candidates who want to become Detroit's next mayor, it's time to take stock of the harsh realities facing the city and craft a clear campaign message that addresses those stark truths.

Stephen Henderson has been issuing that challenge from the pages of the Detroit Free Press throughout the campaign, and now that the two challengers have emerged from the primary, we wanted to get his thoughts.

Stephen Henderson, the editorial page editor of the Detroit Free Press, joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

There are calls in Lansing to overhaul Michigan’s parole system. Advocates say the state keeps people in prison far longer than necessary.

And, we went back in time to explore how a Michigan company fed the nation's craze for sending postcards.

Also, we spoke with meteorologist Mark Torregrossa about improvements in weather forecasting technology.

First on the show, Detroit voters have spoken. Well, at least the 15% or so who voted in Tuesday's primary.

And, it will be Mike Duggan versus Benny Napoleon in the race for Mayor. We'll talk with our political commentator Jack Lessenberry to get his take on the primary results. But first, let's talk with the candidates.

We were joined today by the top vote-getter in yesterday's mayoral primary, a candidate whose name wasn't even on the ballot, Mike Duggan.

Detroit voters have spoken.

Well, at least 15% of so of them have, the percentage who voted in yesterday's primary.

And it will be Mike Duggan versus Benny Napoleon in the race for Mayor.

Despite being booted off the ballot, and being forced to launch a write-in candidacy, Mike Duggan was by far the most popular choice, with more than 44,395 of the 50,328 write-in ballots that were cast. We should note, Tuesday's election numbers won't be official until certified by county canvassers.

Michigan Radio's political commentator Jack Lessenberry joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Mike Duggan / Facebook

Mike Duggan is the winner of yesterday's mayoral primary in Detroit. He attributed his success to the 10,000 people he talked to at 'house parties' during his primary campaign.

"I was at 185 homes. I was in living rooms, and backyards, and church halls, and apartment complexes. They carried me up."

The former Detroit Medical Center CEO won the primary as a write-in candidate. 

"When everyone who votes for you has to figure out how to navigate the write-in process, it gives you an idea of the depth of commitment people have to do it."

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