Cities Face Mayoral Shake-ups in Tuesday's Election

Monday, 04 Nov 2013 11:54 AM

By Melanie Batley

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Voters in a number of major U.S. cities could wake-up Wednesday to an entirely new political landscape after an Election Day that could see a shake-up of traditional choices for mayor.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the 2013 elections could mark a new era for cities such as Detroit, Minneapolis, Boston, and Seattle as voters appear to be more interested in personalities and issues rather than political party preferences.

Detroit, for example, could see its first white mayor in 40 years, a sign that concerns about the city's violent crime and financial insolvency have transcended the politics of race.

Mike Duggan, a former hospital executive is hoping to prevail after Mayor Dave Bing declined to run for re-election. Duggan is leading two-to-one over black candidate Benny Napoleon.

"White people gave Obama a chance. Maybe it's time for a change for us too," Will Kinney, owner of Da' Barber Shop on Detroit's east side, told the Journal.

"Politics just doesn't follow the sharp lines of race that it once did," Kevin Boyle, a professor of history at Northwestern University, also told the Journal.

Boston, meanwhile, will be electing a new mayor for the first time in 20 years with the retirement of Democrat Thomas Menino. The polls already indicate a tight race in the nonpartisan vote between City Council member John Connolly and state Rep. Martin Walsh.

Minneapolis is in a similar position, with its first election of a new mayor in 12 years. No less than 35 candidates are vying for the city's top position. Success may come down to personal brand.

In Seattle, meanwhile, likeability could become the most important factor in a race between two "progressive" Democrats. Specifically, incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn is struggling in the polls due to what some see as a divisive manner in the way he has handled a number of controversial issues during his term in office. It appears the race is coming down to a referendum on McGinn's style and personality.

"People call me 'combative' or 'divisive,' but if you don't raise tough issues and deal with them, that's neglect," McGinn said in an interview, according to the Journal.

The latest polls, however, suggest voters have a different point of view with some indicating he could lose to rival Ed Murray, a state senator, by as much as 20 percent.

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