2012 Ann Arbor Council Primary Roundup

Democrats Kailasapathy, Petersen, Teall, Warpehoski win races

When sitting Democratic councilmembers Sandi Smith (Ward 1) and Carsten Hohnke (Ward 5) announced in the spring they would not be seeking third terms, it was clear that the 11-member Ann Arbor city council would be joined by at least two new members in November.

Ann Arbor city wards

Colored areas correspond to city wards. Clockwise, starting from the top dark green are Ward 1, Ward 2, Ward 3, Ward 4 and Ward 5. All but Ward 3 had contested Democratic primaries on Aug. 7.

When Sally Petersen challenged Tony Derezinski (Ward 2), and Jack Eaton challenged Margie Teall (Ward 4) in the Democratic primary, the number of possible new councilmembers rose to four.

And when Albert Howard filed successfully in mid-summer as an independent candidate for mayor, challenging sitting Democratic mayor John Hieftje, it meant a turnover on the council of potentially five members – because the mayor is a member of the council.

Yesterday’s Aug. 7 primary election results helped clarify the council’s future makeup. Petersen defeated Derezinski by a 55-45 percentage split, and Eaton came within a whisker (18 votes) of beating Teall.

In the Ward 5 Democratic primary, Chuck Warpehoski polled 56.5% to Vivienne Armentrout’s 43.5% to win a place on the ballot in November next to Republican Stuart Berry. And in Ward 1, 58% of Democrats chose Sumi Kailasapathy compared to 42% who preferred Eric Sturgis.

In Ward 3, Christopher Taylor was not challenged in the Democratic primary, and does not face a partisan opponent in November. The lack of a partisan opponent applies to wards 1, 2 and 4 as well.

So after the Nov. 6 general election, the council will likely include new members Sumi Kailasapathy, Sally Petersen, either Chuck Warpehoski or Stuart Berry, and possibly Albert Howard instead of John Hieftje.

After the break, we provide a statistical breakdown of the election and some colored maps to illustrate the results.

Ward 1

In Ward 1, Eric Sturgis likely outperformed the expectations of many observers by getting 628 (42%) of the votes, compared to Kailasapathy’s 863 (58%). She had polled 45% against Sandi Smith in 2010 and was seen as the favorite in the race. But Sturgis actually won two precincts – even though one of them (Precinct 1-1) was only lightly voted with a total 9 votes cast. Sturgis got 6 of them.

But the other precinct won by Sturgis (Precinct 1-5) brought him 157 votes – compared to 123 for Kailasapathy. That’s in the middle of the ward, home to Northside Elementary School, part of Sturgis’ home turf. Precinct-by-precinct results:


PRECINCT NAME	   Kailasapathy	Sturgis
Ward 1, Precinct 1	  3	  6
Ward 1, Precinct 2	  3	  0
Ward 1, Precinct 3	 11	  8
Ward 1, Precinct 4	 88	 71
Ward 1, Precinct 5	123	157
Ward 1, Precinct 6	 56	 42
Ward 1, Precinct 7	 19	  9
Ward 1, Precinct 8	186	123
Ward 1, Precinct 9	189	 74
Ward 1, Precinct 10	185	138
TOTAL	                863     628


Ward 1 voting results

2012 Democratic primary Ward 1 voting results by Kailasapathy’s percentage. Darker purple areas are precincts where Kailasapathy was strongest. Lighter areas correspond to areas where Sturgis was strongest.

Ward 2

In Ward 2, the incumbent Tony Derezinski eked out a win in just one precinct, achieving an overall vote total of 938 (44.7%) votes, compared to 1,160 (55.3%) for Petersen.  The win came in Precinct  2-9, which is in the northern part of the Ward, home territory to a political ally of Derezinski’s – Stephen Rapundalo.

Rapundalo lost his Ward 2 seat last year, when he was defeated in the 2011 general election by Jane Lumm, who ran as an independent. With Derezinski’s defeat, it means a complete replacement of Ward 2 representation on the council in the minimum time, given the two-year terms and alternating year elections for one of every ward’s two seats.

Derezinski and Petersen split two of the smaller precincts exactly 50-50. Precinct-by-precinct results:

PRECINCT NAME	   Derezinski  Petersen
Ward 2, Precinct 1	 42       42
Ward 2, Precinct 2	  1        1
Ward 2, Precinct 3	 44       47
Ward 2, Precinct 4	164      222
Ward 2, Precinct 5	152      232
Ward 2, Precinct 6	118      189
Ward 2, Precinct 7	148      161
Ward 2, Precinct 8	129      141
Ward 2, Precinct 9	140	 125
TOTAL	                938     1160


Ward 2 Ann Arbor primary election results

2012 Democratic primary Ward 2 voting results by Petersen’s percentage. Darker green areas are precincts where Petersen was strongest. Lighter areas indicate areas where Derezinski was strongest.

Ward 4

Ward 4 was for most observers a surprising result – an extremely close race this year after the Jack Eaton had managed just 30% of the vote when he’d challenged Teall two years ago in 2010. This year he fell just 18 votes shy of winning – getting 848 (49.4%) votes, compared to 866 (50.5%) for Teall.

Eaton actually won more precincts than Teall, but two of them were the lightly voted precincts 4-1 and 4-2. He was strongest in the outer fringe of the ward, which includes an area of the city that has experienced severe localized flooding issues, which residents blame at least partly on the city. Precinct-by-precinct results:

PRECINCT NAME      Eaton   Teall
Ward 4, Precinct 1     2     1
Ward 4, Precinct 2    13    11
Ward 4, Precinct 3    58   123
Ward 4, Precinct 4   128   185
Ward 4, Precinct 5    68    83
Ward 4, Precinct 6   121   118
Ward 4, Precinct 7   253   162
Ward 4, Precinct 8    56    66
Ward 4, Precinct 9   149   117
TOTAL                848   866


Ward 4 Ann Arbor Democratic primary results

2012 Democratic primary Ward 4 voting results by Teall’s percentage. Darker blue areas indicate precincts where Teall was strongest. Lighter blue areas correspond to areas where Eaton was strongest.

Ward 5

In Ward 5, Chuck Warpehoski won all but three of the ward’s precincts and wound up with 1,709 (56.5%) votes, compared to 1,320 (43.5%) votes for Armentrout. And one of those three precincts went Armentrout’s way by just a single vote.

Based on Armentrout’s showing in the Ward 5 Democratic council primary against Carsten Hohnke in 2008, when she received 1,552 (49%) votes to Hohnke’s 1,610 (51%), she was picked by many to win this year’s contest.

She enjoyed greater strength on the western edge of the ward, as well as the very tip of the “pie wedge” center, near downtown. Precinct 5-7 was one where she outpolled Warpehoski. That’s a precinct where the Ward 5 councilmember Mike Anglin was particularly strong in the 2009 August primary, which he won against Scott Rosencrans. Anglin was seen as an ally for the South Maple Group, which had fought a development in the precinct called 42 North. And Anglin had endorsed Armentrout – due in part to her strong positions on the preservation of neighborhoods.

In her campaign, Armentrout stressed her experience, knowledge and study of policy issues.

Warpehoski ran a campaign that featured “deep listening” as a theme, and that was reflected in part by an adherence to one of the basics of local campaigning – knocking on doors to hear what was on people’s minds. Encountered by The Chronicle at the precinct 5-4 and 5-5 polls at Slauson Middle School, Warpehoski described how he’d knocked on “every knockable door” in the ward. Precinct-by-precinct results:

PRECINCT NAME    Armentrout  Warpehoski
Ward 5, Precinct 1      36         21
Ward 5, Precinct 2     159        219
Ward 5, Precinct 3      98        124
Ward 5, Precinct 4     152        259
Ward 5, Precinct 5     108        142
Ward 5, Precinct 6     102        170
Ward 5, Precinct 7      47         33
Ward 5, Precinct 8      82         81
Ward 5, Precinct 9     182        191
Ward 5, Precinct 10    116        146
Ward 5, Precinct 11    238        323
Totals                1320       1709


Ward 5 Democratic primary results

2012 Democratic primary Ward 5 voting results by Warpehoski’s percentage. Darker brown areas indicate areas where Warpehoski was strongest. Lighter brown areas indicate areas where Armentrout was strongest.

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  1. By Dan Pritts
    August 8, 2012 at 10:08 am | permalink

    I like the precinct maps – very interesting. However, the overlay makes it difficult to read the underlying map.

  2. By Jason Frenzel
    August 8, 2012 at 11:21 am | permalink

    As always, great stuff, thank you!

  3. August 8, 2012 at 11:30 am | permalink

    It would be even better to indicate the relative number of voters in each precinct, as well as the split between candidates. Pie charts in each precinct, sized proportionate to vote count, maybe?

  4. By Tom Whitaker
    August 8, 2012 at 11:51 am | permalink

    While I’d have preferred a different result, I’m once again very impressed with the voter turn out in Ward 5–over 3000 votes cast in the Council race, which was 1000 more than the next highest turn out in Ward 2. I’d be interested in seeing more data about the population of each ward, the number of registered voters, and the total percentage that voted yesterday (regardless of party).

    I’m also looking forward to seeing the final financial disclosures of the candidates to see if there were any interesting late donations that didn’t make it into their pre-primary reports.

  5. By Rod Johnson
    August 8, 2012 at 11:53 am | permalink

    I’m bemused by the precincts that had a total of 2 or 3 voters–what’s happening there?

  6. By liberalNIMBY
    August 8, 2012 at 12:23 pm | permalink

    Congratulations to all the winners! Thank you for the thorough report, Dave. I hope this (relatively) robust field of candidates, with their associated door knocking campaigns, has the effect of more voter involvement in the future.

    I second Tom’s wish for turnout data, along with any estimates of what proportion of registered voters may actually not be living here.

    @Rod, I’m assuming these are the student polling places. I imagine they’d rather vote at home—can anyone confirm this? Is it true that “back in the day” they tended to vote here?

  7. August 8, 2012 at 12:36 pm | permalink

    Re: request for turnout data

    For GIS day last year, the city staff make this map, which overlayed turnout data from 2010 with median age data: [link].

    For for those readers who’d like to seem some analysis of turnout for 2012, is the 2010 map the kind of presentation you’d find useful, or would you prefer something completely different? I can’t guarantee we’ll have the time to put it together, but it’d be helpful to hear what you’d like to have – say, a table by precinct with a column showing this and a column showing that, or a map with scaled icons corresponding to this and shading corresponding to that, or pie charts or whatever.

  8. By Steve Bean
    August 8, 2012 at 2:04 pm | permalink

    Analyze the data to what end?

    @6: “Congratulations to all the winners!” And, who “won” which “contest”?

    The language used around elections–even at the local level and even here on the Chronicle site–continues to reflect something other than an understanding that elections are for citizens.

    If instead, elections are a contest between aspiring “political leaders” (to use Leah Gunn’s revealing phrase)–and it seems that’s the case, with some inconsequential exceptions–then I’m very doubtful that they, let alone analysis of any data, are going to result in much that will improve our present or prepare us for the future.

  9. By Marvin Face
    August 8, 2012 at 6:17 pm | permalink

    Needless to say, I’m very happy with the ward 5 result. BIG sigh of relief! What I find interesting is that Armentrout yard signs outnumbered Chuck signs what seems like 100 to 1. Also i got Armentrout door hangers and mailers but nothing from Chuck. Somebody explain how $ raised equates to victory because it SEEMED like Armentrout outspent Chuck even if that wasn’t the case.

  10. August 8, 2012 at 7:21 pm | permalink

    Marvin (why not use your real name?), you must not be on the good lists because Chuck put out at least 2 postcards in the last week (one was an expensive full sheet) to my one and he had a comprehensive doorhanger campaign. (I didn’t have doorhangers, just lit distribution by volunteers.) He also had enough sign density in many areas to worry my supporters. He did a by-the-book campaign.

    Triumphalism is never attractive. You shouldn’t inflict that on your candidate.

  11. By Marvin Face
    August 8, 2012 at 8:54 pm | permalink

    Triumphalism? Relief.

    And I do use my real name. Or at least a part of it. And, by the way, I absolutely hope I am not on any “good” list.

  12. By Mark Koroi
    August 8, 2012 at 10:02 pm | permalink

    I spoke to Sumi Kalasapathy on election night who remarked that there will big changes in the way that the City of Ann Arbor government operates. I assume she was refering to the decline of the “Council Party”, a term coined by Vivienne Armentrout and the expectation that Mike Anglin now has a majority to push his reform agenda.

    I met Chuck Warpehoski and his wife, Nancy, at Arbor Brewing who were celebrating their victory, although the mood was not all festive as the attendees were aware that Tony Derezinski and Eric Sturgis had lost. Mayor John Hieftje later stopped by on his bicycle. The real stunner that Chuck related was that Jack Eaton almost beat Margie Teall despite he fact he only got about 31% of the vote in 2010 against her. The good showing had to be of comfort to Eaton, who was well-known as an activist in Dicken Woods.

    Sumi and her family were buoyed by the success of her campaign, but the symbolic and practical effects cannot be understated. She will become the first person of color on City Council in Ann Arbor in five years in a city that has a large percentage of its population as minorities; her victory also became pivotal in erasing the Council Party majority.

    Most Anglin supporters were disappointed at the showing of Vivienne Armentrout, who was expected to run a closer race given the obvious competitiveness in the respective campaigns of Chuck and Vivienne. Some wondered about Vivienne’s future plans.

    State House candidate Adam Zemke had his victory celebration at Heidelberg’s and many local candidates and officeholders attended, including Sandi Smith, Margie Teall, Steve and Letitia Kunselman, Leigh Greden, Judge Chris Easthope, Conan Smith, Andy LaBarre (who also won), John Hieftje and many, many others.

    Jim Fink had his celebration at the Tap Room in Ypsilanti, where I met Sheriff Clayton for the first time. A good mixture of Republicans and Democrats. Everyone seemed happy there with Jim’s showing.

  13. August 8, 2012 at 10:17 pm | permalink

    Just to clarify on Dave’s quote from election day, my campaign plan was to knock on every walkable door of likely Democratic primary voters, which we pretty much did (we skipped doors with “no politicians” signs, for example).

  14. By Eco Bruce
    August 9, 2012 at 7:54 am | permalink

    Mike Anglin’s reform agenda? Has he articulated one?

  15. August 9, 2012 at 8:31 am | permalink

    Rod (5), the precincts that only a handful of voters are typically the campus precincts where during the November election there will be many more voter, since the students will be back in the dorms.

  16. August 9, 2012 at 9:37 am | permalink

    Congrats on your decisive win, Chuck! I’m happy to see that you didn’t pin your future completely on being a member of the “council party”.

    As the shattered hulk of the council party slips beneath the political waves, I sure hope you don’t go down with the ship!

  17. By DrData
    August 9, 2012 at 10:00 am | permalink

    #13. I think “we” is the operative word here. I had a Warpehoski surrogate come by my door. He was quite young and looked like all the paid petitioners that hit my neighborhood.

    He might have been quite knowledgeable about the Warpehoski talking point or a good listener but I ignored him.

  18. By Chuck Warpehoski
    August 9, 2012 at 7:22 pm | permalink

    DrData, Yes, surrogates knocked some of the doors, but all were volunteers, not paid canvassers. I knocked the vast majority of them. I was out 6 days a week knocking on doors, listening to voters.

  19. By John Floyd
    August 14, 2012 at 12:09 am | permalink

    @11 Mr. Face,

    No doubt Santa Claus will be disappointed by your wish.

    John Floyd