The City of Detroit’s August primary contained some surprises for the pollster and pundits.

Detroit Mayor

In a mayoral race that many analysts believed will be close, early indications aren’t good going into the general election for challenger Coleman Young, Jr.

Incumbent Detroit mayor Mike Duggan has received 69% of the vote compared to second place Coleman Young, Jr. with 29%. No other candidate received more than 1% of the vote.

Last we checked, a 2-1 margin isn’t a close race, and it may be wise to reflect and see if there’s actually a competitive race here. In a low-turnout race that favors who should be Young’s base – including senior citizens who remember his dad – he still fared poorly.

It should be noted that Duggan has out raised Young Jr. financially by a factor of 127-1. That’s a huge gap to cross, and even grassroots campaigns cost some money. Young Jr., as of last report, had only raised $22,000 to Duggan’s $2.8 million.

Detroit City Clerk

In another indicator of changing times, although Janice Winfrey took top spot in the primary (52%), for the second spot former NAACP Branch President Heaster Wheeler was defeated by upstart Garlin Gilchrist II who received 19%.

Polls and most pundits missed Gilchrist II, who has been running a sophisticated online and ground campaign, as well as significantly out raised his competition. He’s a former organizer for and his last job was Director of Technology for the City of Detroit. We called out Gilchrist as a sleeper challenger earlier this year.

Detroit City Council

The big surprise here is that Detroiters didn’t “Push the Cush” (as his campaign signs have read in the past) for George Cushingberry, the incumbent in City Council District 2. He suffered a primary defeat to Roy McCalister (25%) and former State Senator Virgil Smith (22%). Smith, if you remember, resigned from that State Senate seat and recently served the majority of 10 month jail sentence for shooting at his ex-wife’s Mercedes-Benz during a domestic issue. Despite his previous issues, his political career isn’t over yet.

Cushingberry was third and received 20% of the vote.

At large, Council President Brenda Jones (45%) sailed to victory, getting more votes than the mayor himself (46,133 to 43,535). Second was another incumbent, Janee’ Ayers (25%). Also in the primary will be Mary Waters (17%) and Beverly Kindle-Walker (6%).

In District 1, incumbent James Tate and Tamara Smith made it through the primary, with Tate getting 71% of the vote.

In District 3, incumbent Scott Benson pulled 56% of the vote to get a general election spot along with Russ Bellant.

In District 4, incumbent Andre Spivey moved to the general with 59% along with challenger Latisha Johnson.

District 5 had no primary as there were only two candidates, and in District 6 Raquel Castaneda-Lopez had 59% of the vote and moves on with challenger Tyrone Carter.

And finally, in District 7, incumbent Gabe Leland garnered 59% of the vote and moves to the general along with challenger Regina Ross.

Share this post