Bankruptcy Clouds Detroit Mayoral Primary Election

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Tom Barrow, an accountant who lost mayoral runs in 1985, 1989 and 2009, also believes a bankruptcy judge’s directives are to be carried out by the city and its elected officials once Orr approves the budget.

“In light of the bankruptcy filing, I don’t believe he retains his power under state law,” Barrow said of Orr. “Bankruptcy laws kick in. Those laws are explicit that the debtor is the municipality and its elected officials.”

Napoleon and Barrow were expected to face a stiff challenge for a spot on the November ballot from former Detroit Medical Center Chief Executive Mike Duggan. But Duggan is running a write-in campaign because a residency issue kicked him off the ballot.

Although Duggan would appear poised to become Detroit’s first write-in mayor, part of his challenge will be making sure voters spell his name correctly. That’s because another candidate, barber Mike Dugeon, is seeking the job as well. He has never run for elected office and said he filed after being approached by a local television reporter over his name similarity with Duggan.

That could make tabulating the write-ins onerous and time-consuming. Following the primary, county canvassers will go over the spellings on each write-in ballot cast to determine who gets the votes.

“We’re going to be fine,” Duggan told The Associated Press. “I don’t think voters in this city will have any trouble spelling my name correctly. Every place I go people are spelling D-U-G-G-A-N.”

Unlike Napoleon and Barrow, Duggan doesn’t expect a bankruptcy to turn Detroit back over to the mayor and council.

“My preference would be for the governor to dissolve the emergency manager and let the mayor represent the city in bankruptcy court,” he said.

If elected, Duggan said he won’t wait until taking office in January to work with Orr.

“I intend to be engaged from the day after the election to push for a plan that leads to a vibrant recovery for the city,” he said. “I’ll try to convince the emergency manager to adopt my version and, if not, convince the bankruptcy judge to adopt it.”

That’s the course all candidates should push across to voters, Cockrel said.

“What we should be hearing from candidates is their understanding of the financial crisis, their approaches to facilitating the process of getting through bankruptcy and what their plans and strategies should be,” she said.

(Photo: AP)

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