Just 11% of Detroiters voted in the primary election, rejecting an ambitious charter revision proposal

Aug 4, 2021 at 11:39 am
click to enlarge Election sign in Detroit. - Steve Neavling
Steve Neavling
Election sign in Detroit.

Only about 11% of registered voters in Detroit turned out for the primary election on Tuesday, choosing candidates for mayor, city council, and clerk, and weighing in on a controversial initiative to revise the charter.

By a two-to-one margin, Detroiters rejected Proposal P, a charter amendment aimed at promoting equity and accountability, cracking down on police brutality, improving transportation and access to affordable housing, protecting property values, imposing a moratorium on water shutoffs, and developing a comprehensive environmental health policy.

Corporate donors and other opponents waged an expensive campaign to defeat the proposal.

Mayor Mike Duggan claimed the charter could bankrupt the city, saying it would cost as much as $2 billion over a four-year period. An independent analysis from Michigan State University estimated the charter would only cost an additional $7 million a year.

The charter was the subject of a court battle after opponents argued that charter revisions needed Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s approval to appear on the ballot. Ultimately, the Michigan Supreme Court sided with supporters of the proposal, saying it didn't need the governor's approval to appear on the ballot.

In the mayoral race, Duggan easily defeated his nine challengers with 72% of the vote. He will face Anthony Adams, ex-deputy mayor to former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who placed second with nearly 10% of the vote.

Eight Detroit City Council district seats and two at-large council seats also were on the ballot.

For the at-large seats, the top vote-getters were incumbent Councilwoman Janee’ L. Ayers and Coleman A. Young, Jr., the son of former Coleman A. Young. Each of them received about 30% of the vote. At-large candidates Mary Waters and Nicole Small also advanced to the general election.

For the council district seats, the top two candidates will face off in the general election.

In District 1, incumbent Councilman James Tate, Jr. secured 70.1% of the vote, with Krystal Larsosa coming in second with 12.2% of the vote.

In District 4, Latisha Johnson garnered 31.8% of the vote, followed by M.L. Erick with 24.4%. The seat is currently held by Andre Spivey, who was recently indicted on bribery charges.

In District 7, Frederick Durhal received 29.9% of the vote, followed by Regina Ross with 24.2%. The seat was vacated earlier this year by Gabe Leland, who was sentenced to probation as part of a bribery scandal.

The other districts had only one or two candidates, so they automatically advanced to the general election.

In District 2, Councilman Roy McCalister, Jr. will face Angela Calloway. In District 6, Gabriela Santiago-Romero and Hector Santiago will face off.

District 3 Councilman Scott Benson and District 5 Council President Pro Tem Mary Sheffield advanced without a challenger.

City Clerk Janice Winfrey garnered 70.4% of the vote and will face Denzel McCampbell, a voting rights advocate and staffer for U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib.

In Macomb County, state Rep. Douglas Wozniak, R-Shelby Township won in a special election for a state Senate seat vacated by Pete Lucido, R-Shelby Township. He will face Democrat Martin Robert Genter in the general election in November.

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