Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Newcomers shake up beleaguered Detroit City Council in general election

Posted By on Wed, Nov 3, 2021 at 10:59 AM

click to enlarge Spirit of Detroit at city hall. - STEVE NEAVLING
  • Steve Neavling
  • Spirit of Detroit at city hall.

Newcomers on Tuesday won six of the nine seats on the Detroit City Council, which has been beset by an ongoing FBI investigation.

Coleman A. Young, Jr., the son of former Mayor Coleman A. Young, and former state lawmaker Mary Waters were the top vote-getters for the two at-large council seats. Young received 31.3% of the vote, and Waters garnered 27%, enough to oust incumbent Councilwoman Janeé Ayers, who collected 25.3% from the vote. The FBI raided Ayers’ home and city hall office in August as part of a widening investigation into towing practices.

The fourth at-large candidate, Nicole Small, received about 16% of the vote.

In the District 2 race, political newcomer Angela Calloway pulled off an upset, beating incumbent councilman Roy McCalister, Jr., 55.4% to 44.6%.

For the District 4 seat, community activist Latisha Johnson defeated former Detroit Free Press journalist M.L. Erick, 61% to 39%. The seat was previously held by André Spivey, who resigned in September after pleading guilty to bribery.

For the open District 6 seat, Gabriela Santiago-Romero defeated Hector Santiago by a wide margin, 74% to 26%. Santiago-Romero, a former Metro Times photo intern and current policy director at We the People Michigan, will replace Councilwoman Castañeda-Lopez, who did not run for another term.

In District 7, Fred Durhal III, a former state lawmaker, squeaked out a nail-biter against educator Regina Ross, 50.3% to 49.7%. A recount is possible.

Councilman James Tate held on to his District 1 seat, soundly defeating Krystal Larsosa, 75% to 25%.

In District 3, Councilman Scott Benson, whose house and city hall office were also raided by the FBI in September, will serve another term. He ran unopposed, but 9% of the vote was for write-ins.

Councilwoman Mary Sheffield, who ran unopposed, hung on to her District 5 seat.

In the city clerk’s race, incumbent Janice Winfrey easily defeated voting rights advocate Denzel McCampbell for a fifth term, despite the myriad problems with Detroit's elections that have occurred under her watch, including incorrect hours posted on polling location signs, failing to properly train election workers, and discrepancies between the number of ballots cast and the number of ballots recorded.

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