Ann Arbor City Races Set

For mayor and city council partisan primaries, the field in the Ann Arbor races appears to be set – now that the 4 p.m. May 15 filing deadline has passed.

Candidates in the August primary can withdraw from a race until 4 p.m. on May 18. After that, their names can’t be removed from the Aug. 7, 2012 ballot.

In the mayor’s race, incumbent John Hieftje will be unopposed in the Aug. 7 Democratic primary. Although Tom Wall, who’s previously run against Hieftje, pulled petitions, he did not file them. Unopposed in the Republican primary will be Albert Howard, assuming the signatures on his nominating petitions are verified. Howard turned in his petitions around 3 p.m. on May 15, and the city clerk’s staff have not yet had time to determine whether he has met the criteria – 50 signatures from each of the city’s five wards for a total of 250.

In Ward 1, Sumi Kailasapathy and Eric Sturgis will contest the Democratic primary. No Republican will be running in Ward 1. Incumbent Sandi Smith, a Democrat, previously announced she would not seek re-election. Democrat Sabra Briere is the other councilmember for Ward 1. Each ward is represented by two representatives, who serve two-year terms. One of the two seats is up for election each year.

In Ward 2, incumbent Tony Derezinski and Sally Hart Petersen will contest the Democratic primary. No Republican will be running in Ward 2. Jane Lumm is the other Ward 2 councilmember, who was elected as an independent.

In Ward 3, incumbent Democrat Christopher Taylor will have an uncontested Democratic primary. Republican Albert Howard took out petitions for Ward 3 but did not file them. Democrat Stephen Kunselman is the other Ward 3 representative.

In Ward 4, incumbent Margie Teall and Jack Eaton will contest the Democratic primary. No Republican will be running in Ward 4. Democrat Marcia Higgins is the other Ward 4 councilmember.

In Ward 5, the Democratic primary will be contested by Vivienne Armentrout and Chuck Warpehoski. Incumbent Carsten Hohnke, a Democrat, announced he would not seek re-election. Republican Stuart Berry will have an uncontested primary in Ward 5. Berry and the Democratic primary winner will appear on the Nov. 6, 2012, general election ballot. Democrat Mike Anglin is the other Ward 5 councilmember.

Candidates who are not affiliated with a political party (independents) have until July 19, 2012 at 4 p.m. to file petitions to appear on the Nov. 6 general election ballot.

Assuming no independents file, and assuming no write-in candidates register, election contests in Wards 1, 2, 3 and 4  will effectively be decided in the Aug. 7 Democratic primary. That would mean that of six city races (five council seats plus the position of mayor) only two will be decided at the November polls – Ward 5 council and the position of mayor.

[For a history of partisan elections in Ann Arbor, see "Column: Ann Arbor, a One-Party Town"]