Huffpost Detroit

Mike Duggan Is Barred From Ballot For Detroit Mayor Race, Appeals Court Affirms

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MIKE DUGGAN
Mike Duggan is off the ballot for the Detroit mayoral race. | AP

Mike Duggan's efforts to stay on the Detroit ballot for the mayoral primary in August were blocked today by the Michigan Court of Appeals.

The Court of Appeals ruled against Duggan, siding with a decision last week, according to Deadline Detroit.

Duggan, the former CEO of the Detroit Medical Center and a former Wayne Couny Prosecutor, has been a front-runner in this year's campaign.

That is, until one of his opponents, Tom Barrow, filed a challenge to Duggan's campaign with the Detroit Election Commission, along with activist Robert Davis. Barrow argued that Duggan, who moved to Detroit from Livonia last year, had officially filed his paperwork to run for mayor before he established a year of residency in Detroit.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Judges Christopher Murray and Michael Talbot wrote the majority opinion affirming that Duggan had not met the qualifications for office, while Judge Cynthia Diane Stephens wrote a partial dissent.

"We hold that Duggan has not met the qualifications for elected office by the plain terms contained in the charter,” the opinion stated. “Consequently, where Duggan has failed to meet the charter requirements for elective office, his name may not appear on the ballot. Plaintiff thus has a clear legal right to have Duggan’s name removed from the list of candidates and the Commission has a clear legal duty to perform this ministerial act.”

The Detroit Election Commission voted 2-1 against Barrow in May. At an emergency hearing on Tuesday, Judge Lita M. Popke of Wayne County's Third Circuit Court ordered that Duggan was ineligible as a candidate for mayor.

When voters approved a new city charter in 2011, the language called for any candidate for political office to be a "resident and a qualified and registered voter of the City of Detroit for one year at the time for filing for office." The commentary accompanying the charter noted that residency requirements make it "more likely that elected officials will be intimately familiar with the unique issues impacting their communities." (See a PDF of the Detroit Charter's language on residency requirements for city officials.)

Duggan filed his paperwork to run for mayor on April 2, but did not register to vote in the city of Detroit until April 16, 2012. NAACP Detroit General Counsel Butch Hollowell argued that the filing deadline was not actually until mid-May, when he spoke to The Huffington Post earlier in defense of Duggan.

"That's 13 months of residency," he said. "It's obvious from the charter and the commentary under the charter provision that the intent is to make certain that the candidate is a bonafide resident. There is no question as to whether Duggan met that one year requirement."

Duggan still has another possibility in the legal system: appealing the verdict to the Michigan Supreme Court. Attorneys filing on behalf of Tom Barrow and organizer Robert Davis already filed a motion to the state Supreme Court on June 14 to invalidate the Court of Appeals ruling -- possibly anticipating that the COA would rule to validate Duggan's candidacy. Since the Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Barrow, Barrow's June 14 motion has been invalidated. Duggan will have to file a separate motion in order to have the state's highest court consider his argument.

John Roach, a spokesman for Duggan, released a statement saying they would address the issue on Wednesday morning.

"After receiving word that the Michigan Court of Appeals has affirmed Judge Popke's ruling that he is ineligible to appear on the August 6th ballot for Mayor, Mike Duggan will take the rest of today to consider his options," he said.

See what people had to say about last week's first decision to block Duggan from the ballot on Twitter:

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