DETROIT (WWJ) – The state’s elections director says there is nothing to stop Mike Duggan from mounting a write-in campaign in his efforts to become the next mayor of Detroit.
In a letter sent Tuesday, Director Chris Thomas denied a request by activist Robert Davis to have Duggan ruled ineligible to be a candidate. Thomas said Michigan election law does allows Duggan to be a write-in candidate for the August 6 mayoral primary.
This latest comes after the state Court of Appeals ruled that Duggan be removed from the ballot because he filed campaign petitions two weeks prior to being a registered Detroit voter for a full year, as required by the city charter.
Following that setback, Duggan briefly pulled out of the race — but then relaunched his campaign as a write-in candidate.
In legal documents filed in Wayne County Circuit Court, Duggan’s opponent Tom Barrow alleged Appeals Court Judge Lita Popke’s decision also bars Duggan from the primary ballot in any form — but Thomas says that’s not the case.
“A review of the Detroit City Charter finds no provision relating to the qualifications of write-in candidates,” Thomas wrote in the letter to Davis, who is challenging Duggan’s write-in candidacy alongside Barrow. “…In sum, this office has no authority to disqualify a person who timely files the declaration of intent for city office.”
The Duggan campaign says a ruling on that should come early next week.
Barrow, meantime, is also claiming that his opponent illegally used a ballot in instructing voters on how to write-in his name. He cites state law: MCL 168.718, which bars anyone from using the official ballot without permission of the Elections Commission.
“Lawlessness by city officials is at an unprecedented all time high and we must stop these folk who just ignore our rules and our laws,” Barrow said, in a release.
Duggan, former CEO of the Detroit Medical Center, has been considered one of the leading candidates to succeed Mayor Dave Bing, who is not seeking re-election. According to polls, he’s front-runner in the race — along with Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon.
Barrow is trailing, alongside former Detroit city attorney Krystal Crittendon and ex-state Rep. Lisa Howze.