DETROIT (WWJ) –  He filed just a little too early, and now it’s official: Mike Duggan has pulled out of the Detroit mayoral race.

“I’m going to try to find another way to help. I’m not leaving Detroit,” said Duggan, speaking to reporters Wednesday morning.

This comes after Michigan Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s ruling, Tuesday, in split a decision — that Duggan’s name be removed from the primary election ballot.

At issue is Duggan’s residency.

A Wayne County Circuit Judge  Lita M. Popke last week ruled that Duggan’s name must be removed from the ballot after opposing candidate Tom Barrow pointed out Duggan was not a resident and registered voter in Detroit for a year — as required by city charter —when he turned in his signatures to become an official candidate for mayor.

“This is entirely my fault,” Duggan said.”… Never in my wildest dreams did I think you could be knocked off a ballot for filing too soon. If I’d thought there would have been any possibility, obviously I would have held onto them two weeks longer.”

Duggan said it was the first time in his life he ever did anything early, to laughs from the crowd.

“I don’t see putting this town through another four or five months of a fight if either the Supreme Court were to reinstated me or if we were to try and run a write-in (campaign),” he said. “I just don’t think there’s a viable path forward to winning …”

Duggan said it was going to be a close race between himself and formidable opponent Benny Napoleon — who, along with Duggan, has shown to be front-runner in the latest polls.

“I think we’ll always wish that the voters of Detroit could have made the decision for themselves, and not have it be made by judges,” Duggan said. “But this is where we stand, and there’s no point in complaining about it.”

Duggan thanked Detroiters for their support.

“It you look back a year or so ago in the headlines, all this stuff about the idea of a white mayor was seen as crazy by some people in the media. But all of you who have been with me have known, I have been embraced with warmth and kindness in every single corner of this city. I haven’t had a single bad experience.”

Outspoken community organizer Rev. Malik Shabazz told WWJ’s Charlie Langton he’s disappointed. Duggan was notably the first white man to take a serious stab at the mayor’s job since Coleman Young took office in 1974.

“Mike Duggan to me, and I’m a black man  — a seriously proud black man — but it’s not about Mike Duggan being white; it’s about him being right,” said Shabazz.

“And no disrespect to the other candidates, but I just feel that Governor Snyder will eat them for breakfast at 9 a.m. and eliminate them at 12 noon, you know.”

Duggan last year quit his job as CEO of the Detroit Medical Center, and it’s not clear what his future holds.

Stay with WWJ and for more on this story.

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