Mike Duggan Wins a Third Term as Detroit’s Mayor
Mr. Duggan, a Democrat, has presided over a resurgence of Detroit’s downtown and a restoration of basic city services, even as many neighborhoods continue to struggle.,
Mike Duggan wins a third term as Detroit’s mayor.
Nov. 2, 2021, 9:45 p.m. ET
By Mitch Smith
Mayor Mike Duggan of Detroit was elected to a third term on Tuesday, The Associated Press projected, as voters signaled confidence in the direction of a city that has suffered from decades of disinvestment and population loss.
Mr. Duggan, a Democrat who was elected eight years ago as the city was in the throes of municipal bankruptcy, has presided over a resurgence of Detroit’s commercial center and a restoration of basic city services like streetlights. New factories are opening, the Detroit Pistons basketball team moved back from the suburbs, and young college graduates have moved into downtown and Midtown, along with businesses catering to them.
“Eight years ago, the problems Detroit was facing were just Detroit — no other city was talking about bankruptcy or streetlights,” Mr. Duggan said earlier this year. “Today, the challenges that we’re dealing with, every other city has.”
But by Mr. Duggan’s own assessment, Detroit remains a work in progress. Violent crime is a persistent concern. Blighted and abandoned homes are a common sight, despite efforts to bulldoze or restore many buildings over the last decades. And some longtime residents, especially Black residents who stayed in Detroit through years of white flight to the suburbs, say they are concerned about gentrification as the white population grows and rents go up.
Mr. Duggan, the first white mayor in decades of a city where nearly 80 percent of residents are Black, has also so far failed to deliver on his promise to end more than half a century of population decline. Data from the 2020 census showed the population had fallen more than 10 percent since 2010, to about 639,000 residents. The white, Asian and Hispanic populations increased in that period, but there were tens of thousands fewer Black Detroiters in the city. The mayor has disputed that data and pledged to challenge the census figures.
Mr. Duggan’s opponent, Anthony Adams, a lawyer and fellow Democrat, focused his campaign on crime reduction, police reform and keeping longtime residents in the city. But he struggled to gain traction as local and national figures in the Democratic Party, including President Biden, gave their support to Mr. Duggan.
“We’re starting to lose our Black population in the city, and we’re losing it because the policies of this administration are harmful to the people who have been here through thick and thin,” Mr. Adams said in an interview this summer.