Winfrey, Duggan, Write-ins, Council-by-District, and the History of "Wild" Detroit Elections

WXYZ Detroit - The Detroit Primary Election is less than a month away and the challenges to Mike Duggan's candidacy don't seem to stop!  His printed name won't appear on the official primary ballot but supporters can write-in his name.  Winning as a write-in candidate is an uphill battle but it's not impossible. 

In a recent in-depth interview, Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey told me some of the do's and don'ts voters should pay close attention to when they cast their August 6 ballot.   She also addressed some of the confusion surrounding the new council-by-district ballots that Detroit voters will face for the very first time under the revised city charter.  More than 50 candidates are running for a seat on Detroit's legislative body. 

In the crowded race for the executive branch, Duggan is vying for one of the top two spots against popular name recognition candidates such as Tom Barrow, Krystal Crittendon, Fred Durhal, Lisa Howze, and Benny Napoleon, whose names will be on the ballot. 

If history is any indication, write-in candidates don't often become mayor.  The last one was Charles Bowles.  In 1925, he ran for the seat vacated by Mayor Frank Ellsworth Doremus.  Bowles, who was openly supported by the Ku Klux Klan, lost the primary.  But undaunted, he continued his run in the general election as a write-in candidate where he unofficially won by 7,000 votes.  However, the board of canvassers disqualified 15,000 of his votes because his last name was misspelled.  He eventually lost that race on a technicality but bounced back in 1929 when he beat John C. Lodge in the primary and John W. Smith in the general to become Detroit's 58 th top political official.  Six months later, it would all come to an end when he was recalled because he fired the popular police commissioner.  

And you thought 2013 Detroit politics was rough! 

You can see the entire interview with embattled Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey on the Sunday, July 14 edition of Spotlight on the News at 9:30 on WXYZ.

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