August 6 City Council Primary Races Set

Now that the 4 p.m. May 14 deadline has passed for filing nominating petitions, the Ann Arbor city council races for the Aug. 6, 2013 primaries are set. Only Democratic primaries will be contested, and they’ll be held in just two of the city’s five wards – Ward 3 and Ward 4. No Republicans filed nominating petitions. In the fall, at least five possible independent candidates could appear on ballots citywide, counting Ward 2 incumbent Jane Lumm.

In Ward 1, incumbent Democrat Sabra Briere, who’ll be seeking her fourth two-year term, will be unopposed in the Democratic primary. She could face independent Jaclyn Vresics in the November general election, if Vresics files at least 100 valid signatures by Aug. 7. Vresics is a University of Michigan student affiliated with the Mixed Use Party.

In Ward 2, Democrat Kirk Westphal, who has not previously sought elected office, will not need to contest a primary race. He’ll likely face independent incumbent Jane Lumm in the November general election, along with independent Conrad Brown. Neither Lumm nor Brown have submitted signatures. Brown has taken out nominating petitions, but Lumm has not. Their deadline is Aug. 7.

In Ward 3 Democratic incumbent Stephen Kunselman, who’s served a total of three terms on the council, will contest the primary with Julie Grand, who’s seeking elected office for the first time. Grand currently serves in an appointed position on the city’s park advisory commission. Kunselman was elected in 2006, but did not win re-election in 2008 when he lost the Democratic primary to Christopher Taylor. The following year, Kunselman was elected in a primary field that included incumbent Democrat Leigh Greden and LuAnne Bullington. [Each ward is represented with two seats on the 11-member body, which includes the mayor. Every year, one of the two ward seats is open for election.]

In Ward 3, Samuel Devarti took out petitions on May 13 to run as an independent in the November general election, but he won’t need to submit signatures until Aug. 7.

In Ward 4, Democratic incumbent Marcia Higgins will contest the primary with Jack Eaton. 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. Eaton has contested the Ward 4 primary twice previously with incumbent Margie Teall. In the August 2012 Democratic primary, the race between Teall and Eaton was close enough to require a recount, as Eaton and Teall received 846 and 866 votes, respectively.

In Ward 4, Noah Weber took out petitions on May 13 to run as an independent in the November general election, but will have another three months, until Aug. 7, to submit signatures.

In Ward 5, Democratic incumbent Mike Anglin will not have a contested primary. Anglin was first elected in 2007, and will be seeking his fourth term on the council. Democrat Thomas Partridge took out petitions but did not submit any signatures by the deadline. Partridge has previously appeared on the ballot as a candidate for the 53rd District seat in the Michigan house of representatives and the 18th District seat in the Michigan senate.