Voters in Detroit elected their first white mayor in 40 years on Tuesday, but he will be largely powerless in a city under the control of a state-appointment emergency manager shepherding it through the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history.
Mike Duggan, a former prosecutor and hospital CEO, drew support — and a financial advantage — from the city’s business community, and he topped Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon in the race. Detroit is 85 percent black, but voters seemed to care more about who could best run a city government hamstrung by the state. The Associated Press called the race for Duggan at about 11 p.m. EST.
A state-appointed emergency manager has held most decision-making authority since May, and a federal bankruptcy court will decide if the government can seek Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection later this month. The current mayor, Dave Bing, complained about the emergency manager taking over and said in May he would not run for re-election.
Detroit has not had a white mayor since 1974.