DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit mayoral hopeful Mike Duggan says he will continue to campaign as he appeals a judge’s order removing his name from the primary election ballot.
Wayne County Circuit Judge Lita M. Popke made the ruling on Tuesday 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.
Duggan moved from Livonia to Detroit in March 2012, but didn’t register to vote until April 16, 2012. He turned in his petitions to run for mayor on April 2, 2013 — two weeks short of the one-year residency requirement, according to Popke.
Surrounded by supporters at his campaign headquarters on Wednesday, Duggan said he believes he followed the charter’s intent.
“It was no confusion about this. We knew from day one that the filing deadline was May 14 of 2013. We knew the charter said I had to be a registered voter a year ahead of that. I was a registered voter on April 16 of 2012,” Duggan said.
WWJ Legal Analyst Charlie Langton said this puts Duggan in a gray area.
“The judge says the date for residency starts when Duggan filed his voter registration,” Langton said. “However, the charter does not define residency as the date of voter registration, and seems to suggest that it’s when a person moves in to the city.”
Duggan’s campaign says the judge’s ruling is contrary to the opinion of every election lawyer who has looked at the case.
Meantime, Barrow released a statement, saying Duggan should give up this “futile legal fight” and “move on with his life.”
“Duggan is free to appeal to the state courts, the U.S. Supreme Court, the World Court at the Hague and even Captain Kirk’s United Federation of Planets. The result will be the same because the decision is rooted in the case law and state statutes,” Barrow said.
He added, “So many in Detroit believe that the legal system is ‘flexible’ and accommodates the wealthy and powerful, while working people must accept their fate at the mercy of the courts. Yesterday’s decision balanced the scales in many Detroiters minds, restoring a modicum of confidence necessary for governing.”
According to the latest polls, Duggan is a front-runner in the Detroit mayoral race, along with Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon. Barrow has trailed in the polls, falling behind ex-Detroit city attorney Krystal Crittendon to tie for fifth with former state Rep. Lisa Howze.
This is Barrow’s fourth time running for mayor of Detroit.
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