Detroit mayoral candidate Mike Duggan announced this morning that he will appeal the decision by a Wayne County Circuit Court judge to remove him from the ballot to the Michigan Court of Appeals.
Speaking to a crowded media conference at his campaign headquarters, Duggan said his team of lawyers are appealing Judge Lita Popke’s ruling.
He questioned how the judge could issue a 22-page opinion without hearing the oral arguments of the case brought by mayoral candidate Tom Barrow and labor activist Robert Davis.
“I found it very unusual that someone would write a 22-page opinion without hearing the oral arguments,” Duggan said.
“The court finds that the Detroit City Charter’s provisions regarding the qualifications for elective office are clear and unambiguous. The candidate must have been a qualified and registered voter in the city of Detroit for one year before he filed for office,” Judge Popke said in her ruling.
“The stakes are so high that we get somebody elected mayor and I’m going to try my best to make that happen,” Duggan said. “This will be in the hands of the court of appeals and I’ll be out campaigning.”
If the appeals court takes the case it will have to issue a ruling early next week because absentee ballots will be mailed out on June 22.
If Duggan is not on the ballot by then, he cannot run for mayor.
Alternatively, the appeals court could ask Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey to halt the printing of absentee ballots until it hears the entire residency case.
Davis, the activist who has initiated many legal fights against the state, insisted the latest ruling is according to law.
“It’s quite evident Mr. Duggan didn’t meet the requirements as set forth in the Detroit City Charter,” Davis said. “The people should send a very loud message for Mr. Duggan to go back to Livonia and run for mayor there. I presume Mr. Duggan will appeal. We’re prepared for an appeal. I am confident that her ruling will be upheld and the will of the people of Detroit will be upheld.”
However, Duggan cited Chicago mayor and former White House chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel who had similar issues and was reinstated on the ballot by a higher court. He also noted that former Detroit mayor Coleman Young was kicked off the ballot in 1973 because he couldn’t run as a sitting legislator. But he was reinstated and went on to win.
Barrow has maintained that Duggan’s residency as a technical flap disqualify him from the August ballot, calling Duggan’s campaign “another suburban transplant taking over the reigns of the city.”
Barrow responded to Duggan’s move to appeal saying, “Duggan is free to appeal to the state courts, the U.S. Supreme Court, the World Court at the Hague and even Capt. Kirk’s United Federation of Planets, the result will be the same because the decision is rooted in the case law and state statutes.”
In response, Duggan said Barrow is running a campaign of hate and divisiveness that does not reflect the views of the majority of Detroiters.