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Write-in candidate wins Birmingham city commission seat

Mike Martindale   | The Detroit News

Birmingham — An incumbent city commissioner who ran as a write-in candidate in Tuesday’s election received enough votes to be re-elected, according to the Oakland County Board of Canvassers.

Pierre Boutros received all but 24 of 2,135 write-in ballots, Oakland County Election Director Joe Rozell said Friday. The 2,111 votes were enough for him to finish fourth, winning the final council seat in a seven-candidate field and ensuring he will serve another four years.

“Twenty-four votes were invalidated because they were nonsense,” Rozell said. “All of the rest of the votes were for Boutros.”

The finding means Boutros ousted another incumbent Mayor Patty Bordman, who originally was the fourth place finisher. Bordman received 1,665 votes or 10.6% of the 15,600 votes split up among the seven candidates.

Boutros was the only qualified write-in candidate. He was forced to go that route after he had been removed from the ballot for failure to file an amended campaign finance report, as required by state election law.

Write-in candidacies often face considerable challenges to get elected since their name isn't automatically on the ballot. They need to generate enough name recognition so voters take the initiative to write the name in on the ballot. 

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is one of the few to overcome the odds, winning the 2013 mayoral primary as a write-in candidate after being tossed from the ballot on a technical disqualification.

Earlier this week Boutros said he was cautiously optimistic that he would receive enough support to get re-elected.

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