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Friday, April 19, 2019

Hopes of ousting Warren Mayor Fouts may hinge on one man

Posted By on Fri, Apr 19, 2019 at 1:19 PM

click to enlarge Warren Mayor Jim Fouts. - CITY OF WARREN
  • City of Warren
  • Warren Mayor Jim Fouts.

Hopes of ousting Warren Mayor Jim Fouts in the November election may hinge on one man — former state lawmaker Steve Bieda.

click to enlarge Steve Bieda
  • Steve Bieda
As the Tuesday deadline nears for mayoral hopefuls to file for candidacy, opponents of Fouts are encouraging Bieda, a popular Democrat, to run.

No formidable candidates have filed as of Friday afternoon.

In the past two elections, Fouts won with more than 80 percent of the vote — the largest margins of victory in the city’s history.

But since his last election victory in 2015, Fouts has been plagued with scandals and allegations of cronyism and racism. In a series of damaging recordings released to the media since 2017, Fouts has compared black people to “chimps,” called older women “dried-up cunts,” used a gay slur, and mocked people with disabilities and women who have been abused.

Fouts also has come under fire for giving large raises to his young executive assistant, with whom he was caught on video holding hands. Over the past eight years, Amanda Mika’s salary has ballooned from $40,000 to $76,569.

Despite all of this, a recent poll showed Fouts leading Bieda in a theoretical race for mayor, although a third of the 300 people polled said they were undecided. Nearly 38 percent said they would vote for Fouts, while 29.6% said they would cast a ballot for Bieda.

Bieda, a former state senator and representative, is a household name in Warren and arguably the most popular politician who does not currently hold an elected position. But whether Bieda will throw his hat in the ring is unclear.

Bieda is the director of legislative affairs for the Michigan Department of Treasury, and he declined to comment on whether he’s considering running.

Whatever the case, political observers are shocked by Fouts’ popularity in the midst of so many scandals.

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