Jack Eaton has taken out petitions to contest the 2013 Democratic primary election in Ward 4 for the Ann Arbor city council. City clerk records show that he took out the petitions on April 17. Eaton is a labor attorney. Over the last several years, he’s been actively involved in advocating for neighborhoods.
Ward 4 incumbent Marcia Higgins, who’s served on the council for over a decade, took out petitions on Dec. 31, 2012.
Higgins and Eaton will need to file their petitions with at least 100 valid signatures by the May 14 deadline.
Eaton has contested the Democratic primary election twice in recent years, both times against incumbent Margie Teall. In the August 2012 Democratic primary, the race was close enough to require a recount, as Eaton and Teall received 846 and 866 votes, respectively. That was the total after a recount of the ballots. The 2010 primary race was not as close, when Eaton polled 642 (30.63%) to Teall’s 1,448 (69.08%).
Higgins began her city council career as a Republican, first winning election to the council in 1999. She changed parties to become a Democrat in 2005. Higgins ran for mayor in 2002, but received less than 25% of the mayoral vote against Democrat John Hieftje. Vote totals that year were 8,764 (24.83%) for Higgins compared to 26,495 (75.05%) for Hieftje.
The Ann Arbor city council is an 11-member body, including the mayor. Each of the city’s five wards is represented by two councilmembers, who serve two-year terms. In any given year, only one of the councilmembers is up for re-election. In Ward 4, Teall is not up for re-election this year.
Eaton is the third non-incumbent to indicate plans to run for city council this year. Earlier this year, Kirk Westphal – current chair of the Ann Arbor city planning commission – pulled petitions to run in the Ward 2 Democratic primary. And Julie Grand – chair of the Ann Arbor park advisory commission – pulled petitions to run in the Ward 3 Democratic primary.
At this point all partisan incumbents have pulled petitions to retain their council seats: Sabra Briere (Ward 1), Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3), Marcia Higgins (Ward 4) and Mike Anglin (Ward 5). In Ward 2, Jane Lumm was elected as an independent, and is expected to contest the November election again as an independent. Her deadline for filing petitions is Aug. 7.
Kunselman, a two-term councilmember, is the only candidate who’s already filed the petitions, which he did on March 8. Added after initial publication: Kunselman also served an earlier, third term from 2006-2008. He sat out a year after losing the 2008 primary, but was elected again in 2009.