Fall Ann Arbor Council Races Take Form

Attention in Ann Arbor city council elections is currently focused on Tuesday’s Aug. 6 primary races in Ward 3 and Ward 4. But races in other wards – to be contested by some independent candidates – are starting to take clearer shape in advance of the Aug. 7 filing deadline.

Joining Ward 1 incumbent Democrat Sabra Briere on the Nov. 5 general election ballot will be independent Jeff Hayner. Briere is unopposed in the Democratic primary and no Republican candidate filed to run – in Ward 1 or in any other of the city’s five wards. According to city clerk’s office records, Hayner took out nominating petitions on July 3, submitted them on Aug. 2, and they were certified by the city clerk’s office that same day.

Also in Ward 1, independent Jaclyn Vresics submitted signatures on Aug. 1 but the clerk’s office has been able to validate only 68 of them, which falls short of the 100 necessary to qualify for the ballot. If she submits 32 additional valid signatures by the Aug. 7 deadline, that would set up Ward 1 for a three-way race. Vresics is affiliated with the University of Michigan student Mixed Use Party.

A three-way race for Ward 2 is already assured, as independent Conrad Brown submitted 101 valid signatures on Aug. 1. He’ll join incumbent independent Jane Lumm and Democratic challenger Kirk Westphal on the Nov. 5 ballot. Lumm filed her petitions on July 23, and Westphal is unopposed in the Democratic primary. Like Vresics, Brown is affiliated with the Mixed Use Party.

In Ward 3, the winner of the Democratic primary – either incumbent Stephen Kunselman and Julie Grand – could face an independent challenge from Sam DeVarti. He filed his petitions on Aug. 2, but the city clerk has been able to certify only 97 of them.

In Ward 4, Noah Weber took out petitions in mid-May, but as of noon on Aug. 5 he has not yet filed signatures with the clerk’s office. If he does not file at least 100 valid signatures by the Aug. 7 deadline, then the winner of the Democratic primary – either incumbent Marcia Higgins or Jack Eaton – would almost certainly be unopposed on the November ballot.

In Ward 5, Thomas Partridge took out petitions to run as an independent on Aug. 2, but has not filed signatures yet. Partridge also took out petitions to run in the Democratic primary, but did not submit any signatures. Incumbent Democrat Mike Anglin is unopposed in the Aug. 6 primary for Ward 5.

Update on Aug. 6, 2013 at 4:35 p.m.:  DeVarti submitted supplemental signatures and now has 103 valid signatures. That sets up a choice for Ward 3 voters in the fall – between DeVarti and the winner of the race between Grand and Kunselman.

In Ward 1 Vresics submitted supplemental signatures today that city clerk staff are still verifying. And even though he already submitted enough signatures, Hayner also submitted supplemental signatures today to guard against the possibility that some people might have signed both his and Vresics’ petition. Signing both petitions would disqualify the signature for both candidates. 

Update on Aug. 7, 2013 at 4:10 p.m.: According to city clerk staff, Vresics did have sufficient signatures to qualify for the ballot. With the deadline now passed – without Partridge or Weber filing petitions – that finalizes the field of city council ballot candidates on Nov. 5. (Kunselman and Eaton prevailed in the Ward 3 and Ward 4 Democratic primaries, respectively.) Ward 1: Briere, Vresics, Hayner. Ward 2: Lumm, Westphal, Brown. Ward 3: Kunselman, DeVarti. Ward 4: Eaton. Ward 5: Anglin.