Ann Arbor Dems Win County Board Seats

Republicans add a seat in Washtenaw, defeating incumbent

The four  Ann Arbor Democrats running for seats on the Washtenaw County board of commissioners were elected decisively on Tuesday. The group included three incumbents and a first-time candidate, Yousef Rabhi. Elsewhere in the county, Republicans picked up a seat on the board, according to unofficial election results posted by the Washtenaw County clerk’s office, bringing the GOP total to three of the 11 commissioners.

Rabhi defeated Republican Joe Baublis in District 11, with 5,663 votes – or 75% of the votes – compared to 1,821 for Baublis. The Aug. 3 primary election result was notable for Rabhi’s one-vote victory in a four-way race. Those results prompted a recount, giving him a final two-vote victory in the primary. District 11 covers parts of central and east Ann Arbor. Rabhi will take the seat vacated by Jeff Irwin, who ran a successful bid for 53rd District state representative on Tuesday, defeating Republican Chase Ingersoll by a vote of 23,436 to 5,692.

Among the other Democratic incumbents representing Ann Arbor, Conan Smith ran unopposed in District 10 (west and northwest Ann Arbor) and received 9,969 votes. Barbara Levin Bergman in District 8 (northeast Ann Arbor) and Leah Gunn in District 9 (south and southwest Ann Arbor) defeated GOP opponents Melinda Day and Mark Tipping, respectively. Bergman got 4,956 votes to Day’s 1,943, while Gunn beat Tipping 6,773 to 2,255, according to unofficial results from the clerk’s office.

All 11 county commissioner seats were on the ballot. All but one of the Democratic incumbents were re-elected. Ken Schwartz, a Democrat who has represented District 2, was defeated by Republican Dan Smith by a vote of 6,638 to 5,917. The district covers the townships of Ann Arbor, Superior, Salem and Northfield, and portions of Webster Township.

Republican candidates also won in Districts 1 and 3. In District 1, Rob Turner defeated Democrat Adam Zemke with 52.24% of the votes, 7,856 to 7,133. That seat, which represents the western part of the county, was previously held by Republican Mark Ouimet, who won the 52nd District state representative race on Tuesday, narrowly defeating Democrat Christine Green with 51.58% of the votes – 21,462 to 20,027. That race was among the more contentious in this area, with accusations that Ouimet inappropriately claimed reimbursements from the county for mileage and per diem.

In District 3, Republican Alicia Ping ran unopposed. She’ll replace her sister Jessica Ping on the county board, for a district that serves the southwest part of Washtenaw County, including Saline.

Democratic incumbents re-elected to the county board include Kristin Judge in District 7 (Pittsfield Township), defeating Republican Sean Gray with 58% of the votes – 5,762 to 4,084; Ronnie Peterson in District 6 (Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township), beating Republican opponent David Raaflaub by a vote of 4,596 to 1,432; Rolland Sizemore Jr. in District 5 (Ypsilanti Township), who won 69% of the vote over Republican Bill Emmerich – 5,606 to 2,387; and Wes Prater in District 4 (southeast Washtenaw), defeating his Republican challenger Robert Van Bemmelen by a vote of 7,151 to 5,576.

The newly elected commissioners will take office in January 2011. They’ll face continued budgetary pressures, including a projected deficit in 2012-13 that could surpass $20 million.