Eighteen people, including a state representative, NBA Hall of Famer, former assistant federal prosecutor and ex-city council president, answered a call for candidates to run the city of 900,000 after its disgraced mayor resigned.
Each hopeful dropped off petitions at City Hall by Tuesday's deadline to get on the nonpartisan special election ballot next year. Each needed a minimum of 583 valid signatures to make the Feb. 24. primary ballot, and the top two votegetters will advance to a May 5 runoff.
Kwame Kilpatrick's term was to last through 2009, but he resigned as part of a plea deal in separate perjury and assault cases and will be sentenced Oct. 28 to 120 days in jail.
Ken Cockrel Jr., the former City Council president, is currently serving as the mayor.
Without the once popular Kilpatrick in the mix, many of the candidates have a chance, political commentator Adolph Mongo said. Among the contenders are Cockrel, ex-Detroit Pistons star and businessman Dave Bing, state Rep. Coleman A. Young II, and three past but unsuccessful mayoral candidates: Freman Hendrix, the ex-prosecutor Sharon McPhail and the Rev. Nicholas Hood III.
Hendrix, chief of government relations at Eastern Michigan University, received more votes than Kilpatrick in the 2005 mayoral primary, but lost in the runoff.
Kilpatrick, a Democrat, admitted lying on the witness stand in a lawsuit over the firing of two police officers.
In January, the Detroit Free Press published steamy text messages between Kilpatrick and top aide Christine Beatty that contradicted their courtroom denials of an extramarital affair and led to charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. Kilpatrick later was charged with assaulting two investigators trying to serve a subpoena.