One Newcomer Wins Library Board Seat

Three incumbents also re-elected over challenger Armentrout

Nancy Kaplan won her first elected position on Tuesday when she defeated two opponents – including an incumbent – to take a two-year term on the Ann Arbor District Library board of trustees. According to unofficial results posted by the Washtenaw County clerk’s office, Kaplan took just over 55% of the votes in that three-way race against Lyn Powrie Davidge and incumbent Carola Stearns, who was appointed to that seat in 2008 following the resignation of Jean King.

In a separate, much closer race, three incumbents – Barbara Murphy, Jan Barney Newman and Ed Surovell – were re-elected to four-year terms. Challenger Vivienne Armentrout finished fourth in that four-way race, with 16,975 votes or 22.3% of total votes cast. Murphy got 20,404 votes, or 26.8%; Newman had 19,834 votes, or 26.07%; and Surovell got 18,415 votes, or 24.2%.

The four trustees elected on Tuesday will join three other current board members – Rebecca Head, Margaret Leary and Prue Rosenthal – whose terms expire in 2012.

In the race for one two-year term, Kaplan’s 14,336-vote win was a decisive one over the 6,116 votes cast for Stearns and 5,114 for Davidge, according to unofficial results. Kaplan, who hosts a local talk show on community issues called Other Perspectives, said during her campaign that she’ll seek broader public input and reach out to gain new community involvement for the library. She also has said she’ll lobby to broadcast the board’s monthly meetings on Community Television Network. The meetings are currently not televised, but are held in a location that is equipped for broadcast by CTN.

Of the three candidates, Kaplan was the only one for whom The Chronicle observed signs at polling places on Tuesday. Waiting for the absent voter counts to be completed on the lower level of the Washtenaw County administration building on North Main Street, Kaplan told The Chronicle that she’d had 25 signs made – and shifted some of them to different precincts as the day wore on.

In the four-way race among Armentrout, Murphy, Newman and Surovell, Newman was the only candidate from whom The Chronicle received a mailed piece of literature. Early returns from the precincts showed Armentrout with an overall lead, but that advantage began to slip as precincts outside the city of Ann Arbor were counted. Armentrout’s lead was eroded further when the absentee ballots began to be tabulated.

The absentee voter tabulation for the 19 separate city of Ann Arbor count boards did not conclude until nearly 4 a.m. When The Chronicle left the county administration building, city clerk Jackie Beaudry and election worker Jeff Micale were stowing the voting machines that had been used for tabulation.

One of the main issues facing the library board in the near future will be the question of what to do with the library’s main downtown building. In November of 2008, the library board voted to postpone construction of a new downtown library, citing economic conditions. However, they are expected to take up the issue again at a board retreat planned for later this year.


  1. By Marvin Face
    November 3, 2010 at 9:35 am | permalink

    Strangely, this makes my day.

  2. November 3, 2010 at 11:09 am | permalink

    Yup, I made a decision not to campaign actively and I actually turned down several offered contributions. Whether signs or mailings would have clinched a victory, we’ll never know.

    Congratulations to the winners and I’m especially pleased to see Nancy Kaplan have a chance to show what she can do as an elected board member.

    And thanks to all those who voted for me. I treasure every vote.

  3. By Lyn Davidge
    November 4, 2010 at 9:01 pm | permalink

    I’ll echo Vivienne in saying that I treasure and am grateful for every vote. This was my first run for office — a great ride and wonderful learning experience. Everyone should throw a hat in the ring at least once. Congratulations to the winners. And, just for the record, I did have 25 or so signs out at about 20 polling places.