Duggan says no more appeals in ballot fight

DETROIT (AP) -- Former prosecutor and hospital executive Mike Duggan dropped out of the Detroit mayoral race on Wednesday, surrendering after two courts said he submitted his petition signatures too early to get on the ballot.

Duggan, who had been considered a leading candidate to become Detroit's next mayor, said a prolonged fight would be too distracting in the weeks leading up to the Aug. 6 primary. It's been 40 years since Detroit had a mayor who is white, but polls showed Duggan, who is white, had strong name recognition and support. Detroit is more than 80 percent black.

Two courts have said Duggan doesn't qualify for the ballot because he submitted petitions less than a year after becoming a registered voter in the city, a violation of the Detroit City Charter. He moved to Detroit from Livonia in 2012.

Duggan's decision came after a three-member panel of the state Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld a lower court ruling last week that removed him from the ballot.

"I'm not going to put people through something I don't believe will be successful myself," he said. "We could appeal to the (Michigan) Supreme Court, but even if we win legally, the political damage has been done."

Duggan said it never occurred to him "in my wildest dreams" that he could be kicked off the ballot for turning in signatures too early. He submitted petitions on April 2, 10 days short of the anniversary of his voter registration.

Duggan actually had even more time to submit petitions because the deadline to sign up for mayoral primary was May 14.

His place on the ballot was challenged by another candidate, Tom Barrow, who has run for mayor many times and lost. Other candidates include Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon and former Detroit city attorney Krystal Crittendon.

Published: Fri, Jun 21, 2013