Candidate who wanted city as white 'as possible' withdraws from council race in Michigan




 

PORT HURON, Mich. - A Michigan city council candidate whose racist comments have garnered nationwide attention since late last week has formally withdrawn from the race.

Marysville Mayor Dan Damman said Jean Cramer submitted a letter withdrawing Monday - three days after he called for her to do so. City Manager Randy Fernandez said Cramer had first come into city hall to verbally withdraw but was asked to put it in writing.

Cramer, 67, couldn't be immediately reached for comment Monday afternoon. Her formal one-sentence letter to the city did not include any reasoning behind her withdrawal.

Despite the decision, Fernandez said her name will still appear on the Nov. 5 city election ballot. City officials consulted with the state and determined that her name would have had to have been withdrawn by April 26to be removed, he said.

Cramer was one of five residents - two incumbents and two others - vying for three seats.

During a city election forum last Thursday, Cramer had been the first to respond to a question about attracting foreign-born residents to the community when she responded: "Keep Marysville a white community as much as possible."

In a follow-up question from the Times Herald after the event, Cramer confirmed her beliefs.

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Referencing comments that Mayor Pro Tem Kathy Hayman made in response to Cramer during the forum - that her son-in-law was black and that she had biracial grandchildren - Cramer added that she didn't believe people of different races should get married.

By Friday, Daman and other community leaders called for Cramer to withdraw. The mayor said he didn't believe Cramer was "fit to serve as an elected official in Marysville or anywhere else."

However, as of that afternoon, she said withdrawing wasn't in her plans. During a separate interview, she doubled down on her comments from the previous day, adding that she didn't believe her comments were racist.

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"As far as I know, as long as we've been here, Marysville has been a white community, a white city," Cramer told the Times Herald. "… If we have seen a black person here and there, whatever, we're not bothered by it. I'm not bothered by it."

The four remaining candidates in the City Council race are Hayman, Councilman Paul Wessel, and residents Shawn Winston and Mike Deising. Former Councilman Wayne Pyden is running unopposed to replace Damman, who isn't seeking re-election, as Marysville's mayor.

The City Council meets regularly at 7:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Mondays of the month.

Follow Jackie Smith on Twitter: @Jackie20Smith

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Marysville council candidate Jean Cramer withdraws after racist words

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