Bing a top vote-getter in primary
DETROIT -- NBA Hall of Famer Dave Bing and incumbent Ken Cockrel Jr. advanced Tuesday to a May 5 runoff election, vying to serve out the remainder of disgraced ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's second term.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Bing received 26,327 votes, or nearly 29 percent, while 24,665 ballots, or 27 percent, were cast for Cockrel. The Democrats were among 15 candidates competing for the mayor's job in Tuesday's nonpartisan special primary, which drew a small percentage of the city's registered voters.
"I promise to fight for improvements in public safety, education, and most important, employment," Bing told supporters at a post-victory rally. "It looks like the people of Detroit agreed with us that we had the right message."
Cockrel, the former city council president who became mayor when Kilpatrick resigned, said he was content to finish second, because that meant he survived to fight into May.
"I'll take No. 2 because No. 2 means I'm still in the game," Cockrel said in an interview with The Associated Press. "It was close. It wasn't like he was light years ahead of me."
Former deputy mayor Freman Hendrix came in third with 21,195 votes, followed by Wayne County Sheriff Warren Evans with 9,184.
"You just want to congratulate both Ken and Dave for getting their messages out," Hendrix said. "When it's all said and done, it's not about me, it's about the city of Detroit. The voters have chosen."
Turnout, as expected, was low with city elections director Daniel Baxter saying it was about 14.5 percent.
Four hours earlier, retiree Charles Dunn said he was only the 108th person to vote at Henry Ford High School.
"It's lousy," said Dunn, 57. "It's as if they don't care."
Kilpatrick resigned in September as he pleaded to criminal charges in the scandal, which involved an affair with a top aide.
The regularly scheduled primary is in August with the runoff in November. The winner in that campaign will serve a regular four-year term starting next January. The four elections will cost $6 million for the city, reeling under the auto industry's difficulties and other problems.
The once-popular Kilpatrick was released from jail earlier this month after serving 99 days of a 120-day sentence. He pleaded guilty in September to obstruction of justice and no contest to assault. He admitted he lied during a civil trial to cover up an affair with his chief of staff, with whom he exchanged sexually explicit text messages.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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