By Bankole Thompson
CHRONICLE SENIOR EDITOR
Tom Barrow, the boisterous mayoral contender who initially succeeded in knocking his opponent, Mike Duggan, former CEO of the Detroit Medical Center off the Aug. 6 primary ballot, has vowed to continue his challenge after Duggan announced a write-in campaign last week.
Barrow issued a release Monday morning warning Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey not to allow Duggan back on the ballot after the Wayne County Circuit Court and the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled he wasn’t qualified to be on the ballot because of questionable residency.
Robert Davis, labor activist who joined Barrow in the first lawsuit, is also challenging the legality of Duggan’s write-in campaign.
“Should Mr. Duggan attempt to present documentation to your office in furtherance of a write-in campaign for the August 6, 2013 primary election, you are required, by order of the court, to reject such request,” Barrow said in a letter to Winfrey.
During a news conference at his East Jefferson campaign headquarters announcing his write-in candidacy, Duggan said, “I did not expect this kind of reaction and I’ve heard from so many people. We don’t want judges taking away our right to vote.”
Duggan, who was encouraged by Strategic Staffing Solutions CEO Cindy Pasky to mount a write-in campaign, said it will be a challenging effort “but the goal is to finish number two on the ballot,” which would allow him to go head to head with Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon in the general election in November.
Duggan said even though it might seem impossible to many, if he can get between 15,000-20,000 votes it will put him in second place for the November showdown where polls have already shown the race is between him and Napoleon.
Around the country few political campaigns have had a successful write-in campaign, including former Washington, DC Mayor Anthony Williams.
Barrow believes Duggan’s latest campaign is a waste of money and resources.
“It’s too bad that he will have to waste hundreds of thousands of dollars on a cash and carry hubris campaign for the wealthy and arrogant,” Barrow said. “But even more important, its too bad he is not eligible to participate in any candidate forum since only candidates appearing on the August 6 ballot are eligible to do so.”
However, a new Steve Mitchell Research poll commissioned by Turnaround Detroit, a political action committee co-chaired by Elizabeth “Betty” Brooks, a respected Detroit civic leader, shows that voters in Detroit want Duggan to be on the primary ballot.
The June 25-26 survey results among likely voters polled showed there is strong interest in Duggan’s write-in candidacy.
“Turnaround Detroit was created earlier this year to support a leader that can turn Detroit around. The next five weeks will be spent communicating to Detroiters the importance of voting for Mike Duggan who has a proven record of success and 30 years of commitment to Detroit. Duggan brings the unique combination of experience we need to rebuild our neighborhoods and take back our city from the state,” Brooks said.
“Turnaround Detroit is committed to ensuring that every Detroit voter has their viable choice for mayor included. The recent poll results and comments received from voters are clear indications that Mike Duggan as a write-in candidate is among the choices they want.”
Former state senator Samuel “Buzz” Thomas, who co-chairs Turnaround Detroit, said, “Every day there are reasons shown why Detroit needs Mike Duggan to be written in on the mayoral ballot. Mike Duggan has the track record, proven leadership and experience needed at this critical time for the city to move forward.”