Cushingberry loses re-election bid in primary
Detroit — City Council President Pro-Tem George Cushingberry will not be moving on from the primary election after being upset by two opponents.
But the other incumbent council members remained among top vote-getters in their districts with all of the city's 590 precincts reporting.
For the at-large seats, the top four vote-getters advance to the Nov. 7 general election when voters will get to choose two council members.
In the district races, the top two voter-getters proceed to the general election. Voters select one council member for each district in November.
At-large seats: In nearly complete returns, Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones and Councilwoman Janee Ayers move on for at-large council seats.
Former state Rep. Mary Waters placed third place while Alisa McKinney and Beverly Kindle-Walker were in a close race for the fourth spot.
The vote results were Jones, 45 percent; Ayers, 25.2 percent; Waters, 16.8 percent; Kindle-Walker 6.4 percent.
Jones, 57, is running on her record of working with Mayor Mike Duggan while breaking with him on high-profile issues, such as community benefit agreements and transparency on demolition contracts.
The 35-year-old Ayers is competing for her first full term on the council after being appointed in 2015 to replace Saunteel Jenkins. Ayers created the Returning Citizens Task Force and is working on a proposed ordinance to address housing and employment for former jail and prison convicts reintegrating into society.
Waters, 61, who works for an educational consulting company, got a state law passed addressing copper theft. She also was vice chair of Detroit’s charter revision committee in the 1990s.
Kindle-Walker is a 63-year-old West Village resident who was a legislative assistant to Democratic Wayne County Commissioner Tim Kileen.
District 1: Councilman James Tate took an early and overwhelming lead in the primary with 70 percent of the vote. His toughest opponent, Tamara Smith, followed with 17 percent.
Tate, 42, touted his biggest accomplishments as the launch of Di$cover D1 — an initiative meant to fuel small business growth in his district — and the start of monthly community meetings with residents.
Smith, 43, who owns an independent transportation company, said she wants to bring companies with “livable wage” jobs to Detroit. She also wants to spearhead initiatives to curb sex trafficking.
District 2: Roy McCalister Jr. placed first in the District 2 primary with 24.9 percent of the vote. Former state Sen. Virgil Smith followed with 22.1 percent. City Council President Pro-Tem George Cushingberry was on the outside looking in with 19.7 percent.
Cushingberry, 64, a former state representative and Wayne County commissioner, had his law license suspended twice.
In 2014, during a stop outside of a bar, police allegedly found a cup of liquor and a half-smoked marijuana cigarette in his car. Cushingberry was issued a ticket for failure to signal but not given a field sobriety test. An investigation concluded there was not enough evidence to suggest the councilman sought preferential treatment from police.
Smith, 37, is attempting a political comeback. Smith, who said he is self-employed, resigned from the state Senate last year and spent 10 months in jail after firing an assault rifle at his ex-wife’s car. His original plea deal required Smith to resign from office and refrain from holding public office during his five-year probationary period. A trial court judge tossed out that latter provision as an unconstitutional restriction on the people’s right to choose their elected officials, a ruling the Wayne County prosecutor’s office is appealing.
McCalister Jr., 63, is a retired Detroit police officer and an investigator with the Eastern District of Michigan Federal Defenders Office.
District 3: City Councilman Scott Benson led his opponents in returns with 55.7 percent of the vote late Tuesday. He was trailed by Russ Bellant with 18.9 percent.
Benson, 47, spent seven days in jail in 2015 for a drunken driving conviction. Benson introduced a controversial community benefits ordinance that voters approved in November. It requires developers of major projects to engage residents to negotiate jobs, affordable housing or other benefits.
Bellant, 68, is heavily involved in community groups and is a city water department retiree.
District 4: Councilman Andre Spivey and Latisha Johnson will move on in the east-side district that borders Grosse Pointe and the Detroit River.
Spivey had 58.6 percent of the votes, while Johnson had 25 percent.
Spivey, a 43-year-old pastor for St. Paul AME Church, is vying for his third four-year term. He has been touting his institutional knowledge and efforts to fight for residents.
Johnson, 41, is vice chair of Detroit’s Board of Zoning Appeals and founded a nonprofit neighborhood coalition for the far east side.
District 5: In this southeast area, incumbent Mary Sheffield is hoping to hang on to her seat when she goes up against Wayne County Commissioner Jewel Ware in November. The race did not appear on Tuesday’s primary ballot since it involves two candidates.
District 6: Southwest Detroit Councilwoman Racquel Castaneda-Lopez placed first with a commanding vote total against her challengers.
Castaneda-Lopez, 35, the first Latina to sit on the Detroit City Council, had 59.1 percent of the vote.
Tyrone Carter placed second with 33.4 percent of the vote.
Among her efforts, Castaneda-Lopez introduced an ordinance to regulate the handling and storage of controversial petroleum coke and other bulk solid materials in the city, and helped negotiate benefits for Delray residents in the footprint of the planned Gordie Howe International Bridge.
Carter, 55, is a retired lieutenant from the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office who has spent the last eight years volunteering with neighborhood associations in Detroit.
District 7: Incumbent Gabe Leland placed first in his race against challengers in this west-side district that borders Dearborn.
Leland had 59.2 percent while Regina Ross had 24.7 percent to move on.
Leland, 35, is a first-term council member who has said he has worked to help neighborhood block clubs expand and get access to resources. He also backed an ordinance that banned front porch grilling in Detroit.
Ross, 49, is a community advisory councilwoman in District 7 and former program director for Wayne State University and the Detroit school district.