Ayers beats opponent for at-large Detroit council seat

Christine Ferretti
The Detroit News

Detroit — City Councilwoman Janee Ayers came out on top in Tuesday’s special race to retain her at-large seat, defeating a prominent pastor.

Ayers, who was appointed to the post in February 2015, pulled in a majority of the vote — 61 percent to David Bullock’s 39 percent — in the general election, based on unofficial results.

Ayers, a former MGM Grand Detroit Casino employee, was heavily backed for the seat by Detroit’s administration, union groups and other county, state and city leaders.

“The people have spoken and they spoke loud and vocally in the primary and the general (election),” Ayers told The News Wednesday. “I’m just thankful that they put their faith in me and my team. It just shows that hard work pays off.”

Ayers’ win has her finishing the final year of the unexpired term of former council member Saunteel Jenkins. The next round of four-year terms for all nine Detroit council seats will be decided by voters in November 2017.

Her challenger, activist the Rev. David Bullock, on Wednesday said he did what he could with limited campaign resources. From here, the focus will be on supporting others who are “engaged in fighting social change in Detroit,” he said.

“I’ll continue to be a voice in the city, much of what I’ve been doing in the past,” said Bullock, a spokesman for Change Agent Consortium, a national civil rights group.

Bullock, a former philosophy professor from Midtown, was the third-highest vote getter in the 2013 at-large race for council, receiving more than 39,000 votes. He is senior pastor of Greater St. Matthew’s Baptist Church in Highland Park.

Ayers is a resident of northwest Detroit’s District 1 and previously served as recording secretary for UNITE HERE Local 24. She sits on four council subcommittees and has said she’s spent her life “working for working people.”

Since taking office, she’s initiated legislation to hold owners of blighted property accountable.