Metro Detroit voters to decide top seats, historic firsts at Tuesday election
Metro Detroit voters will elect the leaders of some of Michigan’s largest cities on Tuesday, with the possibility that some cities will elect their first minority leader and others face the risk of the winning candidate being subject to federal investigation.
Dearborn, Dearborn Heights and Hamtramck have the chance to elect their first Arab-American and Muslim mayors, while Taylor could elect their first Latino mayor.
Elections will be held in Detroit City Council, Taylor and Romulus as certain city guides continue to be investigated by federal agencies.
The Detroit City Council will have more sales than it will do in a decade, with four out of nine council seats expected to be filled with newcomers. Meanwhile, a former deputy mayor is waging an uphill battle against Detroit mayor Mike Duggan, who is seeking a third term.
And the heated battles for leadership are only getting hotter in Pontiac, Royal Oak and Sterling Heights.
Bill Ballenger, editor of the Ballenger report, said the election could usher in a series of firsts for the communities of Metro Detroit, whose populations are steadily moving towards a minority majority.
Past ethnic candidates running for top positions “were kind of second fiddle or sacrificial lambs,” Ballenger said. “They didn’t win. Now, in the November general election, they are favorites and have a credible chance of winning.”
Race for Detroit Mayor
Detroit’s mayoral race has been described as losing the duggans since August, having received 72% of the vote during the primary, while its most famous challenger – 65-year-old Anthony Adams – received nearly 10% of the vote.
Adams, a deputy mayor under Kwame Kilpatrick, visited Brush Park residents on Monday as part of his final effort to connect with voters. He has “good momentum” and is optimistic about his chances.
Adams told The Detroit News during a stop at Brush Park Manor that Duggan’s administration is focused on getting business into town “when we really should focus on the people of town.”
“There are so many things we can do differently, but we never talk about them because we focus on buildings,” said Adams.
Duggan didn’t make any public appearances on Monday. He previously told The Detroit News that “people want to see me work” and that running for mayor is more energetic than running for mayor.
In his bid for a third, four-year term, Duggan advocates an ongoing focus on building “One Detroit for All.” as Detroit at Work – has access to jobs and professional training.
Metro cities could see new premieres
Tuesday’s election is expected to break new ground when it comes to minority representation in some of Metro Detroit’s cities.
Democratic MP Abdullah Hammoud would become Dearborn’s first Arab-American and Muslim mayor if he defeated Gary Woronchak, a former Dearborn Press & Guide editor and state official with deep roots in the city. Almost half of the city’s 110,000 residents identify as Arab-American.
Hammoud or Woronchak will replace Mayor John “Jack” O’Reilly Jr.
At Dearborn Heights, appointed Mayor Bill Bazzi would become the first elected Arab-American and Muslim mayor for the city if he fought off a challenge from Council Chairman Denise Malinowski Maxwell.
Bazzi was named mayor after Mayor Daniel Paletko died in January due to symptoms of COVID, while Malinowski Maxwell served as mayor’s protest after Paletko’s death. Bazzi works for Ford Motor Co. and is a Marine Corps retiree, while Malinowski Maxwell is a retired real estate agent.
In Hamtramck, challenger Amer Ghalib, 41, would become the city’s first Arab-American and Muslim mayor if he defeated four-time mayor Karen Majewski, 66.
The city, which for years was a predominantly European immigrant community, has grown into a majority minority community over the past two decades, with an increasing number of residents of Middle Eastern and South Asian descent.
In Taylor, Democratic MP Alex Garza, 27, would become the city’s first Latino mayor if he defeated City Council Chairman Tim Wooley, 51. You are running to replace Mayor Rick Sollars, 47, who is not on the ballot but is running a write-in campaign.
Mario Morrow, a Southfield-based policy advisor, said, “It is very good for our state, our cities, and our country to have more different elected officials, especially in communities that typically do not have great diversity among their elected officials.”
“You see a lot more people of color who not only participate in the electoral process, but also come out in greater numbers and vote,” said Morrow. “They choose people who look like them, the way they speak, and can relate to their problems, problems, goals and goals for a better community.”
Investigations overshadow some races
Of the four Detroit City Council seats available, none are likely to be watched more closely than two City Council seats.
Acting Councilor Janee Ayers, 39, was recently targeted in a raid on her home by the FBI, while candidate Mary Waters, 66, pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return in May 2010 and was convicted later that same Year to one year probation on claims that she received a $ 6,000 Rolex watch from a Southfield jewelry store.
Ayers and Waters are two of four candidates who want to fill the two big seats. You will be accompanied on the ballot by former vice chairman of the Detroit Charter Revision Commission, Nicole Small, 41, and former Senator Coleman A. Young II, 38.
In October 2010, Waters and her former campaign manager Sam Riddle pleaded guilty to their roles after plotting to bribe Southfield City Councilor William Lattimore in connection with Southfield City Council approving the move of a pawn shop, according to the Detroit US Attorney General.
Earlier this year, two other council members – Andre Spivey and Gabe Leland – resigned and pleaded guilty to the crimes, reducing the total number on the council from nine to seven. Spivey pleaded guilty to taking bribes from a contractor and Leland pleaded guilty of misconduct in office.
Taylor’s mayoral election is also overshadowed by scandals. Garza and Woolley are the only official contenders for the seat, but the threat of Sollars’ writ-in candidacy continues even as he faces federal bribery charges.
Sollars is accused of helping a developer get tax-deferred city-owned property in exchange for free work on their home and chalet, including hardwood floors, a humidor, appliances, and more. During the August primaries, Sollars failed to qualify for the general election.
In Romulus, former mayor Alan Lambert and city official Robert McCraight are vying to replace Mayor LeRoy Burcroff, who is being investigated against the federal government for spending on the campaign fund.
Other mayor races
In Sterling Heights, challenger Ken Nelson, 71, vies to depose Mayor Michael Taylor, 38, to lead the part-time performance of the state’s fourth largest city.
The mayor said he was proud of his accomplishments, which include the overhaul of the city’s parking system through a voter-approved mill and $ 400 million in road improvements since 2013. Former Alderman Nelson said he would apply for a three-year moratorium on new capital projects and spending.
At Royal Oak, a field of five candidates who call themselves the “A-Team” challenges four incumbent city commissioners and Mayor Michael Fournier after long-standing disagreements over the direction of the city.
Tom Roth, a software engineer and current commander of the Frank Wendland American Legion Post 253, challenges Fournier.
Royal Oak residents will also be considering a long-debated poll question on whether to keep the grounds of the veterans’ memorial near the public library and separate proposals that include a 3.97 million public safety tax and a 1 million tax – would renew the solid waste tax.
In Pontiac, Tim Greimel, former Michigan House minority leader and Oakland County Commissioner, will fight for mayor against Alexandria Riley, the city’s former development director. Mayor Deirdre Waterman was removed from the main vote due to campaign funding problems. She was unable to get enough registered votes to make it to the November vote.
Staff writer Noelle Gray contributed to this.
The polling stations are open on Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Postal ballot papers must be handed in to the local clerk by 8:00 p.m.
At Michigan.gov/Vote. Voters can check the status of their postal vote, find the location of post boxes in the area, office information, and other voting information