The path toward the city’s new leadership begins Tuesday as city voters begun voting early to winnow a field of candidates for the next mayor and City Council.
Tuesday’s election comes amid uncertanty over the city’s future and the role of its elected leadership. The appointment of Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr and his decision to take Detroit into bankruptcy have cast a cloud over the primary electioPolls opened at 7 a.m. as residents are paring 16 mayoral candidates to two who will face off in the Nov. 5 general election. Another 54 candidates are vying for spots on Detroit’s City Council, which is electing members out of districts for the first time in nearly 100 years. The city charter calls for seven council districts and two at-large spots.
Three of the major mayoral candidates were to get an early start by voting at locations shortly after polls opened Tuesday morning. Former State Rep. Lisa Howze was to get a jumpstart by casting her ballot at 7 a.m. at the Greater St. Paul Baptist Church on the city’s east side. Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon planned to cast his vote at Power of the Word Ministries around 7:30 a.m., while former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan was expected to write-in his name 8 a.m. at the 12th Precinct with his wife and sons.
Each of the city’s candidates is trying to lead Detroit during a period of political uncertainty and financial collapse. Earlier this month, Orr filed the country’s largest municipal bankruptcy filing to restructure nearly $20 billion in long-term debt and liabilities. Orr was appointed to take over the reins of Detroit in March, a year after a consent agreement with the state failed.
Detroit’s elected officials are continuing to work and draw salaries during Orr’s 18-month tenure, but the emergency manager has final say over all decisions.