Duggan Wins(ish): Your Deadline Detroit Election Day Live Blog
August 7th, 2013, 12:30 AM
12:15 AM: With a few council districts reporting final numbers, we'll call this one for the night.
For now, Napoleon's in for November's race, and Duggan is highly probable. Election officials need to scrutinize the spelling of all the write-in votes. Forgive us, but we're not going to live blog for that long.
Thanks for reading. -- LAD, JTW, JRI
12:00 AM: With 601 precincts reporting, percentages haven't changed much since 9 p.m.
11:50 PM: Highlights from Napoleon's showing, since twinkies weren't one of them....
1) Napoleon's victory dance starting at 35 seconds.
2) Wendell Anthony's surprise appearance may have garnered more applause than Napoleon. The NAACP President in Detroit said he only came because his young daughter told him he was supposed to be there. -- LAD
11:35 PM: There was also a lot of thanking from the very chipper Napoleon, plus some warnings that there is still a lot of work to come. The crowd was told to put on their working shoes and also their voting shoes. (Where do I buy those?)
There was no talk of exactly what comes next, but Napoleon said he's proud that they accomplished this with a 5 month long campaign, versus Duggan's year-long campaign. Duggan's campaign also had a lot more money, which was made pretty obvious by the lush spread over in Greektown. Napoleon went for a much more modest, to-the-point campaign watch party. Major points in his speech included helping the neighborhoods, reducing crime, and regaining power for local leadership. -- LAD
11:28 PM: Thanking his supporters for motivating him to keep running despite being kicked off the ballot, Mike Duggan said he's ready to shift from teaching voters how to spell his name to laying out that detailed turnaround plan that he says he'll implement if he's elected mayor. Duggan told the crowd that campaign poll watchers said 97% of write-in voters completed the ballot properly and will ultimately give him a primary victory with 52% of the vote.
Oh, one more thing. After Duggan initially dropped out of the race, I wrote a column comparing that moment to Nixon's infamous "last press conference." I just want to brag how apt that comparison looks right now because this primary looks a lot like Duggan's 1968 GOP convention. Does that make Benny Napoleon your new Hubert Humphrey? -- JTW
10:55 PM: The latest in the mayoral numbers leaves "write-in" and Napoleon still solidly in the lead with 70% of precincts reporting.
10:50 PM: Lest you think I'm staging these photos, here's the other half of the room at the Teamsters hall. I would say this party is as dead as Hoffa, but they've turned the music up. Everybody knows that good parties leave your ears ringing. -- LAD
10:42 PM: City council numbers are now coming in. Here are the top three candidates in each race thus far, top four if the next contestant was close (that's a statistical term). -- LAD
10:33 PM: I'm sitting in the Duggan party, eating their food, and drinking their Faygo but I need to take a second to rain on their parade. If these numbers hold, tonight will be a commanding win for a campaign that was briefly 86'ed just a few weeks ago. However, let's remember that Detroit has a long history of electing the guy who finished second in the primary. Jerry Cavanagh and Coleman Young both went from primary runner-up to the Manoogian. And Kwame Kilpatrick finished a distant second in the 2005 primary, but ultimately defeated Freman Hendrix for that ill-fated second-term. Busted is what you see in the November vote count. -- JTW
10:15 PM: It looks like this 50% for "Write-in" and 30-something% for Napoleon appears to be holding. Crittendon and Howze will probably battle into the night for third place. And, sad you guys, but it looks like Tom Barrow hired Mitt Romney team to do those internal polls that supposedly showed him crushing it or whatever. Reasonable people might look at these numbers and say, "ok, it'll probably be Napoleon and Duggan going to November." But somewhere Karl Rove and Dick Morris still believe rural Ohio will come in big for Barrow. Once again, even in a town as hard to poll as Detroit, poll data is always better than bluster from candidates and pundits. - JDI/JTW
9:59 PM: Good old "write-in" has just breached 5 digits worth of votes, with 10,023. That's 50.68% of votes with 176 precincts reporting.
Don't get too excited, though. That's just under 30% of precincts counted so there's still a long way to go.
City council results are expected soon. -- LAD
9:44 PM: With 114 precincts reporting, it's still "Write-in" for the win, Napoleon to place, and Crittendon for show. Fun fact: John Olumba is currently leading Fred Durhal. -- JTW/JDI
9:35 PM: Here's what the Duggan and Napoleon parties look like right now.
We aren't trying to make Napoleon's night look sad and depressing while Team Duggan has the most super sweet 16 ever. Honest. It's just how this is playing out.
9:22 PM: With 31 precincts in, "Write-in" is still leading. Could this be the Duegon surge that we've...nope can't do it. -- JDI/JTW
9:12 PM: With 17 precincts in, "Write-in" is leading with 51.14%. Napoleon has 29.95% and Krystal Crittendon is currently in third with 6.86% followed by Lisa Howze at 5.56%, then Barrow with 3.51%. -- JDI
9:05 PM: A quick update on the food race. We aren't pulling back our projection for the Duggan food, but several boxes of Jet's pizza have arrived at the Napoleon party.
8:53 PM: It's all square with 0% of precincts reporting. That is all. - LAD
8:38 PM: As we wait for numbers to come in, let's take a moment to compare the speads at the Duggan and Napoleon parties. Objectively speaking, and we must be objective about these things, let's cue the election music and call it. Deadline Detroit is, at 8:38 PM EDT, calling the election night party food race for Mike Duggan. His campaign has coney dogs, nay "Detroit Coney Dogs," and Better Made potato chips, Faygo pop, Stroh's iced cream, Sander's bumpy cake, and (seriously) cupcakes stuffed with Twinkies. This Turducken of dessert may be the single greatest innovation in food technology since they invented bourbon whiskey. If you're downtown and hungry, crash this party. Even if you voted for Willie Lipscomb.
At the Napoleon party, my intrepid colleague Lauren reports, they have Fritos. And unconfirmed reports that crackers may appear at some point. -- JTW
8:28 PM: The Election's Department reports turnout at the polls was 11% today, and about 17% when absentee ballots are factored in. Expect returns to start coming in around 9:00 PM -- JDI
8:00 PM: The polls are closed and it's time to find out who will move onto the November election and who has been voted off MILF Island. Jeff Wattrick, that is to say, this guy, will be covering Duggan's election night party at the Athenaeum Hotel in Greektown. Lauren Davies is in Corktown for Benny Napoleon's shindig at the Teamster's office, and John Irwin is embedded in the Department of Elections bringing us vote totals as they're counted. Stay tuned... -- JTW
7:15 PM: Dynamic duo Sam Riddle and Mary Waters were spotted campaigning at Greater Episcopal Church on Detroit's northwest side this afternoon, according to tipster Ben Fraser from pishposh.tv.
The pair were decked out in their campaigning gear, passing out fliers in support of Water's campaign for the 5th district's city council seat, because, you know, convicted felons always help your reputation.
Riddle was sentenced to 37 months in jail for bribery charges in 2010, and is pretty fresh out of the halfway house. Waters pleaded guilty to being involved in the scheme as well. The campaign is staying squeaky clean, I'm sure.-- LAD
6:20 PM: The four voting precincts at St. Matthew's church on Whittier and Harper are hopping. More than 400 people have voted here and, based on the traffic in the parking lot right now, this site is popular with the after work voters. Plenty of campaign volunteers are working the parking lot right now. Running the gauntlet to get inside left me holding nine pamphlets from various candidates and slates. City Councilman and district four council candidate Andre Spivey was also meeting voters at St. Matthew's this afternoon. We'll post a video interview with Spivey just as soon as we get it uploaded to YouTube. -- JTW
5:29 PM: Turnout is appears to be low at the Osborn High voting precinct. Election workers told me they weren't allowed to say how many people have voted here so far--strange because I've never been refused that information covering previous Detroit elections. However, campaign volunteers electioneering outside the polling site say it's been slow. Roquesha O'Neil has been staked out at Osborn since 7:00 AM campaigning for city council candidate Russ Bellant, whom she calls a candidate "for the people." She says about 100 voters have come through this precinct. Duggan volunteer Gina Rene Bryant was also working this polling location. While Ms. Bryant was the only person from any mayoral campaign at Osborn, the Napoleon and Crittendon campaign had signage here.
4:55 PM: Driving down Seven Mile from I-75 to Osborn High School and you wouldn't know there's an election taking place today. E. Seven Mile remains a fairly busy commercial thoroughfare with plenty of active storefronts, churches, and some light industry. But compared to previous elections there are very few campaign signs along this stretch. Maybe that's more evidence of the electorate's apathy or maybe it's a sign that this area isn't as populated as it once was. Or maybe candidates are just more sophisticated about spending money on paraphernalia like signs. We did, however, spot an occasional sign for fringe candidate John Olumba, who is promising truth and hope. -- JTW
3:05 PM: It's not too much of a surprise, but turnout is also low out here at 7 Mile and Fenmore the city's west side.
"We've had about 80 voters out here," Chairperson Jackie Wallingford said at the Detroit Public Library location. "It's low, but considering it's a primary, it's not unexpected."
Sure, it's a only a primary, but considering the state of the city's finances and the critical bankruptcy negotiations ahead, one would think turnout would be higher. -- JDI
2:03 PM: While things might be going a bit more smoothly in Mexicantown than they are at West Village, canvassers here are frustrated by a lack of voters and information.
Standing in the parking lot of Western High School on Scotten Street, Dwight Foster, a canvasser for District 6 city council candidate Isaac Robinson, said only about 150 people have stopped in so far today. While normal for a typical off-year election, Foster attributes relatively low numbers to a lack of information on changes in voting locations.
"The Detroit Election Commission has failed to notify people of precinct changes and has resulted in a collapse of the democratic process," Foster said.
The nearby Most Holy Redeemer Church used to serve as a voting location for many of the voters here, but precinct changes made some unaware until the last minute they had to change locations.
That being said, things appear to be running smoothly in the voting booths themselves.
"It's been very smooth so far," District 471 Chairperson Linda McMillan said. "There haven't been any real problems here. The only problem is that this gym is cold." -- JDI
12:20 PM: There was at least a bit of optimism at West Village's polling debacle.
Emily, a resident in her 20s, cheerily voted for Duggan.
Did she have trouble finding the door? "Nope!"
Is she worried about Duggan losing votes as a write in candidate? "Nope!" Although, she wasn't sure how to say Duggan aloud. "I feel like voting is pretty self explanatory."
If you don't get lost, of course. -- LAD
11:30 AM: "Where the hell do I go to vote?" yelled a woman wandering about the grounds of the Marcus Garvey Academy on Van Dyke.
Well, you walk around the entirety of the school, past the DTE crew fixing power lines on Kercheval, past the locked gate to the parking lot, past the locked gate to the front doors, and around to E. Vernor and Seyburn -- if you're walking. If you're driving, you have to go a few blocks out of the out way to catch E. Vernor, a one way street, in the right direction. Turn into the school's service drive, where Seyburn St. disappears, and head towards the dumpsters.
Park next to them, or maybe in the principal's labeled parking spot.
There are two signs aroud the building, zero signs on the doors, and one handful of easily distracted teenagers who are supposed to offer directions.
If you've found it, you're at least luckier than this morning's voters, many of whom arrived to discover that the voting machine was jammed. Because, of course.
Election officials at the polling station said the machine worked fine at 7AM, but broke shortly after. A technical crew was sent to fix it, but a few hours and a few different electrical outlets later, the election officials had figured it out and the technical visit was canceled.
Voters were asked to place their ballots in an auxiliary box while the machine was down, and ballots were fed into it once the electrical finagling was complete.
A total of 94 people have figured out how to get there and how to actually vote, and most are frustrated, according to the discouraged team of canvassers in the alley.
"This don't make no sense to me. Why do we gotta walk around to the back? They call us dumb and stupid and then they make it this hard for us. Well look we found it. Now what?" said one voter, who walked to the polling station. "I live here. It shouldn't be this hard." -- LAD
10:30 AM: Now that the excitement of the candidates voting for themselves is over, let's take a moment to review what is actually happening today.
Although last week's polls show Benny Napoleon and Mike Duggan with solid leads over the other candidates with around 30% of the vote, there are a whopping 16 people running for mayor (including the two write-in candidates and name twins Mike Duggan and Mike Dugeon). You've heard of a handful: Benny Napoleon, Tom Barrow, Krystal Crittendon, Fred Durhal, Lisa Howze, John Olumba, and Jeff Wattrick's pick Sigmunt John Szczepkowski Jr. (I am suddenly so thankful I am not a television reporter).
The less fawned over candidates are Angelo Scott Brown, D'Artagnan M. Collier, Herman Griffin, Willie G. Lipscomb Jr, Mark Murphy, John Telford, and Jean Vortkamp, who each raked in about 1% of the vote in polling. The possible error in the poll statistics is 4.5%, so 1% is a nearly useless number for predictions.
It could take up to two weeks for the Wayne County Board of Canvassers to figure out the Duggan-Dugeon debacle, but the City Clerk's office is expected to announce the number of total write in votes this evening. The sticky matter of who get's the misspelled votes will get solved in the coming days.
Voters will also be choosing one of five city clerk candidates (now that they've figured out who is allowed to run), two of eight city council members at large, and one city council member from their district. District 4 on the east side and District 5, which includes New Center, part of midtown, and the Villages, are both electing Police Commissioners. Top candidates from these races will then compete for their respective role in the November election.
Although eyes have largely been on the mayoral race, city council races also mark a turning point for the city. For the first time since 1918, Detroiters are electing city council members by district instead of at large, giving council members a specific area of the city to represent. Two at large members will still be elected.
About 15% of eligible voters are expected to show up today, a slightly lower number than in previous primary elections.
That's enough political junkie news for now. We're off to find some of those thousands of voters. -- LAD
9:42 AM: Mike Duggan speaking to the media after voting. Oh my God, Roop Raj, just give up the Mike Dugeon thing already. It was so last week. -- JTW
9:00 AM: Always on trend, Benny Napoleon cast his ballot bright and early this morning too. His campaign informed the media that their man would be voting at 8:00 AM, but he had voted and left by the time we showed up at 7:45. Oh well. We'll catch up with him later in the day.
There were probably more reporters than voters at the polling site this early hour, so the real fun was to be had outside Power Of The Word Ministries in northwest Detroit, where a handful of remarkably chipper canvassers were handing out flyers and reminding people how to spell Duggan. Just hope there's no fire, because the hydrant is out of service.
They're happy to see people voting, regardless of who it's for, the canvassers say.
But the Monica Lewis-Pattrick for City Council supporter adds, "But if you're gonna ride on, don't write-in." -- LAD
8:52 AM: Flanked by his wife and two children, Mike Duggan cast ballot number 50 (presumably for himself) at the voting precinct at the 12th Police Precinct on Seven Mile at 8:15 AM. When asked what he might do differently, Duggan laughed and said "held my petitions." -- JTW
8:10 AM: Don't tell Tom Barrow he's an underdog.
The controversial mayoral candidate voted bright and early at about 7:30 today at River House Apartments on E. Jefferson Avenue, arriving to the polls with his family. Barrow said he's confident he'll move on to November's general election, regardless of the most recent pre-election poll showing him winning about 8 percent of the vote. That's good enough for third place, but it's well behind Benny Napoleon and arch-nemesis Mike Duggan.
"Unless our internal polling is wrong, we should do well," Barrow said. "I know that conflicts with these made-up polls, but we're good. I think the public and I can tell our polling is correct, in which case we will survive tonight." -- JDI
6:00 AM: Good morning! Last week the gaggle of mayoral candidates crowding the stage for WADL's debate was so large that they couldn't all make their closing statements before Clinton Township's favorite UHF channel had to cut away to a Cheaters episode. Things will be much simpler after tonight, as the primary will cull the field to just two candidates.
Conventional wisdom and polling say front-runners Benny Napoleon and write-in candidate Mike Duggan will advance to November, but if conventional wisdom was always right, we wouldn't need to have elections. Maybe Tom Barrow will make it to his fourth general election in four tries. Maybe Crystal Krittendon will find herself one-step closer to the job currently held by the man who fired her. Or maybe Lisa Howze or Fred Durhal will shock the world with an upset win.
As Detroiters go to the polls today, Deadline Detroit will be out and about all day talking to voters and following candidates making their final pitches for support. Follow along as we live blog election day and stay with us through the night for election returns and candidate reactions. We'll be here for as long as it takes--even if thing get all Florida-y! -- JTW