UPDATE 6/12: Mike Duggan Plans Appeal
DETROIT (WWJ) - A Wayne County Circuit Judge has ruled that Detroit mayoral candidate Mike Duggan’s name must be removed from the primary election ballot.
Judge Lita M. Popke’s decision comes after opposing candidate Tom Barrow claimed that Duggan was not a resident of Detroit for a year — as required by city charter —when he turned in his signatures to become an official candidate for mayor.
Said Barrow, ”The People of Detroit witnessed the re-establishing of the rule of law in Detroit when this judge upheld the plain language of the new Detroit city charter. Contrary to those who would belittle us, Detroiters are wise.
“Detroiters inserted a residency requirement for common sense reasons so as to prevent another outsider from moving in to become a false Messiah. Mr. Duggan arrogantly ignored our charter and disobeyed our law and the court said no,” Barrow said.
Duggan’s campaign released a statement saying the ruling is contrary to the opinion of every election lawyer who has looked at the case. The statement, out Tuesday afternoon, said they are reviewing legal options with their lawyers and will make a decision shortly on how to proceed.
Barrow says Duggan should have never been on the ballot in the first place.
“It isn’t me, and it certainly doesn’t affect my campaign,” said Barrow. “We’ve been following him and preparing our own internal polling all along. So we knew all along where we stood and we knew that he was not what he was portrayed as.
So now, I’m sure he’ll go back to Livonia – where he will probably return to his community with a ticker-tape parade. But he won’t be on the ballot here in Detroit.”
Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey was among the Election Board “two-to-one” majority to approve Duggan’s candidacy last month. Speaking live on WWJ Newsradio 950 Tuesday afternoon, she said she was surprised by the judge’s ruling.
“It’s always something. There’s always a new phenomenon; something we never expected [would] happen. So, my mantra: I follow the law to the letter of the law, and I move forward,” Winfrey said. “It is what it is, right?”
Since the city has traditionally used a filing deadline date of May 14 for all candidates, Winfrey said she personally believes Duggan should still be allowed on the August primary ballot.
With a printing deadline date of June 21 fast approaching, she said her office is hoping for an expedited appeal of Tuesday’s ruling.
Speaking earlier on WWJ, City Council President Charles Pugh said that Barrow had a valid argument regarding Duggan’s residency issue.
“He was not living in the city or registered to vote for a year when he filed to run for mayor,” Pugh said, adding that he believes Duggan was walking a fine-line when he filed:
“There’s a difference between ‘before the filing deadline’ and ‘at the time of filing.’ Those are two different places, and, unfortunately, he did not meet the standard,” Pugh said.
According to the latest polls, Duggan is a front-runner in the race — along with Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon.
Stay with WWJ and CBSDetroit.com for the latest.