Mike Duggan, a business executive known for saving the city's largest employer from near insolvency, will become the next mayor of Detroit in a year the city itself is on the brink of bankruptcy.
Mr. Duggan's victory is historic – he is the city's first white major since 1974. However, his skin color never became an issue in the race, and polls had him leading his nearest challenger, Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, who is black, by a wide margin.
Instead, Duggan won because he successfully presented himself as "a turnaround agent," says Robin Boyle, chair of the urban studies and planning department at Wayne State University in Detroit. His experience in making the Detroit Medical Center (DMC), a coalition of eight hospitals, profitable in eight years was heralded by supporters who say his business acumen is what Detroit needs as it faces restructuring of its finances by a federal bankruptcy judge.