Duggan launches campaign with education effort on write-in process

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Detroit Mayoral candidate Mike Duggan speaks with Mary Ramsey, of Detroit, Saturday, during a Duggan volunteer gathering at Bookies Bar in Detroit. (Steve Perez/The Detroit News)

Detroit Mayoral candidate Mike Duggan speaks with Mary Ramsey, of Detroit, Saturday, during a Duggan volunteer gathering at Bookies Bar in Detroit. (Steve Perez/The Detroit News)

Detroit — Fired up volunteers will begin scouring the city today to rustle up voters pledging to “Write Mike.”

Former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan announced June 29 that he would jump back into the mayoral race as a write-in candidate.

Duggan’s decision came a week after he shut down his campaign following a Court of Appeals ruling to keep him off the primary ballot because he violated city residency requirements.

Today, Duggan planned to meet supporters and volunteers at six stops around the city.

Duggan says he is recruiting volunteers to educate voters about how to properly fill out the ballot: making sure they write his name in and fill in the bubble next to it.

At the first stop, Bookies Bar and Grille on Cass Avenue downtown, about 50 volunteers showed up and pledged to recruit five voters each. At noon, the tables in the bar were full of Detroiters wearing “Duggan for Detroit” T-shirts and “Write Mike” stickers.

“People wanted the chance to decide for themselves,” said Duggan, on why he is continuing the race in spite of the odds. “The support for me is deeper than it was three weeks ago.”

Duggan is among the nearly two dozen candidates running in the primary, which also include Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, former state Rep. Lisa Howze, state Rep. Fred Durhal and former corporation counsel Krystal Crittendon.

Political experts have said it’s extremely difficult to mount a write-in campaign. Former Washington, D.C., Mayor Anthony Williams was successful in an attempt in 2002, Duggan said. In 2010, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski in Alaska won re-election after amassing more than 100,000 votes.

“All I can do is work as hard as I can and see what happens,” Duggan said.

Detroit Cedric Johnson said he pledged to volunteer with the campaign because Duggan is “the right man for the job.”

“I think that there’s enough people that believe in him that they would do whatever necessary to get him elected,” said Johnson. “I know he can do it.”

Supporter Gwenda Meadows agreed.

“We need help desperately in Detroit. It’s really pitiful how it’s all gone down,” said the resident. “I believe that he can bring in the people necessary to get the job done and clean it up.”

The state Court of Appeals upheld a decision by Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Lita M. Popke that removed Duggan from the ballot. The ruling said Duggan violated the Detroit City Charter residency requirements when he filed his campaign paperwork early.

At issue was whether the “time of filing” for office meant the date a candidate files or the filing deadline. Barrow alerted city officials that Duggan registered to vote in Detroit on April 12, 2012, after moving into the city from Livonia in February. Duggan filed his petitions seeking the office on April 3, 2013. The filing deadline for city offices was May 14, 2013.

Meanwhile, a legal dispute has delayed the mailing of nearly 24,000 absentee ballots to city voters, throwing the Aug. 6 primary election into disarray.

The city has delayed the mailing while it awaits a Tuesday state Court of Appeals decision over the eligibility of a city clerk candidate. Officials say they don’t want to proceed with an ineligible candidate’s name on the ballot, even though absentee ballots should have been mailed out by June 22 under state law.

City Clerk Janice Winfrey removed city clerk candidate D. Etta Wilcoxon from the ballot in May, citing invalid signatures. Wilcoxon challenged the ruling before Wayne County Circuit Judge Patricia Fresard and won. City officials appealed the ruling to the state appeals court, which is expected to take up the case Tuesday.

Absentee ballots are supposed to be mailed to voters 45 days before the primary. A Secretary of State’s office spokesman confirmed the court case is preventing Detroit from complying with state election law.

(313) 222-2127

Courtesy of The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130706/METRO01/307060040#ixzz2YIFeKGkz

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