Flint, MI– After serving for three years, Mayor Sheldon Neeley has confirmed that he will be running for reelection. 

“We have provided strong leadership that displays a high-level of integrity, compassion, and dignity,” Neeley said in an emailed statement to Flint Beat. “We’re moving forward together as One Flint.”

But a month and a half into the election filing process, his competition is shaping up to be made up of familiar faces. 

Flint City Council President Eric Mays pulled nominating petitions for the mayoral election on Feb. 8, and has confirmed he will be running. Former Mayor Dr. Karen Weaver–and Neeley’s former opponent–also announced that she was running. 

Mays, who has run for mayor before, said he would want his administration to work together with the city council more than past administrations. 

“This is the third mayor I’ve served under. Dayne Walling, Weaver, and Neeley,” Mays said. “And I haven’t seen a mayor attend and work with city council like they should for the betterment of the city. I’m talking about actually bringing staff and department heads constantly to council meetings and being available.”

First Ward Councilman Eric Mays attends a Flint City Council meeting on Nov. 22, 2021, at Flint City Hall. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)

Mays says he thinks he can demonstrate the “art” of two branches of government working together. He said he also wants to bring more action–even if that’s in his role as a councilperson. 

“People want to be able to see, touch, and feel change. And so for the last two years, it’s been a lot of talk, and not a lot of action,” Mays said. “And so, this summer, as I continue to serve on the city council, I think I’ll be able to demonstrate things that residents can touch and see, to provide a better quality of life.”

Neeley said his administration “has been open and honest with Flint’s tax dollars” and has been successful in dealing with multiple issues. 

“My administration has focused on the future of Flint’s residents while successfully addressing the existing challenges of a water crisis, financial crisis, health crisis, and civil unrest,” he said in a statement to Flint Beat. 

In 2019, Weaver ran for re-election but lost by about 200 votes to Neeley. Now that he’s served his term, Weaver said she’s ready to be mayor again. 

“I am truly humbled to say that I was your mayor in the great city of Flint from 2015 until 2019,” Weaver said during her announcement on March 5. She said she was ready to “bring down crime and address blight,” as well as fight for a fair water rate and access to clean water. 

Mays said he’s taking the process one step at a time, but expects the primary to be “interesting.”

As of March 7, six people have pulled nominating petitions for the mayoral election from the city clerk’s office, but it’s still unclear how many people will be running. The person pulling the petition does not have to be the person actually running for office (Weaver’s name, for example, is not listed among those who pulled petitions) and more people may still pull petitions or fail to get the required signatures needed to run.

Nominating petitions are available in the office Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The petitions must be signed by at least 600 registered voters in Flint, and the deadline to file is April 19.The Primary Election will be held Aug. 2, and the General Election will be held on Nov. 8.

Amy Diaz is a journalist hailing from St. Petersburg, FL. She has written for multiple local newspapers in her hometown before becoming a full-time reporter for Flint Beat. When she’s not writing you...