Politicians begin campaigns for Flint, Michigan replacement mayor

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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Several candidates have announced their intent to run in the special Flint, Michigan mayoral primary election scheduled for May 5, 2009. The primary election was called to fill the remainder of resigning Mayor Don Williamson's term ending in 2011. The two candidates with the most votes will face off in the August special general election. Each candidate will need to collect at least 900 signatures of registered Flint electors in twenty day to qualify for the May 5, 2009 ballot.

Location of Flint (red) within Genesee County, Michigan (orange).

On the first day petitions were available, the City Clerk's office handed out petitions in the morning to Aron Gerics, Dayne Walling, Sheldon Neeley and Brenda Clack. Gregory Eason, Waseem (Sam) Fakhoury, Theodore P. Jankowski, Eric Mays, Devona Watson and Darryl Buchanan picked up petitions later in the day. Stephanie Robb Martin, a Flint Board of Education Trustee was one of eight more potential candidates that pick up petitions since then.

Darryl Buchanan, former City Administrator and "Deputy Mayor", announced he is the running for the office of Mayor on Tuesday February 17. Williamson just replaced Buchanan as City Administrator on February 4, keeping him from succeeding Williamson as Temporary Mayor upon his resignation. Buchanan served as the city ombudsman and councilor before becoming city administrator. He believes he has good relations with the city council and was critical of Williamson's combative relations with the council.

Buchanan supporters believe that Buchanan has the experience for the position of mayor. While some residents and a political analyst, Bill Ballenger, editor of Inside Michigan Politics, believes that his role in Williamson's administration and their friendship hurts his candidacy.

Downtown Flint

Sheldon Neeley, current city councilman for Ward 6, announced his candidacy. Neely stated he will open three offices last week. Already, Sheldon Neeley has returned his petitions Thursday with 1,100 signatures to the City Clerk's office.

Dayne Walling, who narrowly lost to Don Williamson in the 2007 general election, previously announced that he was running if the recall election against Williamson was successful. On Thursday, Walling officially announced he was running at a "Working for Change" rally at the YMCA.

Cquote1.svg I've realized for the past few years, Flint has been held hostage to progress. I just can't take it anymore. Cquote2.svg

—Brenda Clack
via The Flint Journal

Genesee County Commissioner Brenda Clack served as Michigan 34th District State Representative from 2002 to 2008 switching positions with former Flint Mayor Woodrow Stanley.

Aron Gerics, a Mott Community College student and a Mott's Workforce Development Program program assistant, intends to run for mayor. As a write-in candidate for the 2008 49th District House seat election, Gerics lost to Lee Gonzales, D-Flint Twp, the incumbent.

Gregory Eason is a former CEO for Jobs Central Inc. and a Williamson critic. Eric Mays is a political activist. Devona Watson is retiree and long time resident. Theodore P. Jankowski served in the Marines and produces a show for public access television.

City Administrator and Temporary Mayor Michael Brown stated that he will not run as he wants to focus on city business, and is slated to deliver the annual state-of-the-city address.

"He's not just keeping the seat warm until someone else takes over," Brown's communications director Bob Campbell said. "There are some difficult decisions ahead, most notably in the area of the city's finances. He's all about the revival and renewal of the city of Flint."

Additional public officials are considering entering the race including former County Commissioner Raynetta Speed and Councilman Scott Kincaid. State senator John Gleason D-Flushing is pondering a moving into the city to run.

On Tuesday, March 3, Darryl Buchanan, Brenda Clack and Gregory Eason all turned in their completed nominations to the city clerk's office.


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