City Council Incumbents, AAPS Tax Win

Briere (Ward 1), Lumm (Ward 2), Kunselman (Ward 3) and Anglin (5) returned by voters to Ann Arbor city council; Eaton (Ward 4) prevails in Ward 4; public schools sinking fund millage passes by wide margin

The four of five city councilmembers whose seats were up for re-election were returned to office by Ann Arbor voters in the Nov. 5, 2013 election: Democrat Sabra Briere (Ward 1), independent Jane Lumm (Ward 2), Democrat Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) and Democrat Mike Anglin (Ward 5).

Election Map Ward 2

Screen shot of Washtenaw County clerk election results map for Ward 2. Purple shading corresponds to precincts won by Lumm, light blue to those won by Westphal. The two precincts won by Westphal were the lightly voted 2-1 (70 Westphal, 59 Lumm, 5 Brown) and 2-2 (7 Westphal, 3 Lumm, 3 Brown).

In Ward 4, Democrat Jack Eaton was unopposed on the ballot and won easily, with 88.9% of the tally, against declared write-in candidate William Lockwood.

The Ann Arbor Public Schools sinking fund millage won easily with a 13,321 (80.34%) to 3,259 (19.7%) margin.

The outcome makes Eaton the only new member on the 11-member council. He’ll replace Democrat Marcia Higgins. Eaton and Higgins contested the Aug. 6 Democratic primary, which Eaton won in decisive fashion – with about 65% of the vote.

The composition of the council will not change before its Nov. 7, 2013 meeting, which features a very heavy agenda. Eaton will join Ward 4 colleague Margie Teall at the table for the Nov. 18 meeting, but will be officially sworn in on Nov. 11.

Ward 2 featured the closest race, with Lumm’s 2,071 votes (55.9%) still a clear margin over Democratic challenger Kirk Westphal’s 1,549  (41.8%), and independent Conrad Brown’s 71 (1.9%). Lumm’s relative share of the votes was slightly less than the 60% she received in her 2011 win against Stephen Rapundalo, but came within eight votes of matching the number of votes she received in 2011 (2,079).

The $20,875 raised by Lumm during the pre-campaign finance period was twice what Westphal had raised. [Chronicle coverage: "Ann Arbor Campaign Finance 2013"] Possibly more significant than the total amount raised was the distribution of donation amounts. In recent years, those campaigns with a greater skew toward donations of lower amounts have been winning efforts. This year during the pre-campaign period, Lumm’s average donation was $102, compared to $133 for Westphal.

Ward 2 also had the highest voter turnout of any of the wards, with 3,751 voters participating. That’s 19.83% of registered voters. Even though Mike Anglin was unopposed on the ballot, Ward 5 had the second highest turnout, with 3,418 (15.37 %) of registered voters participating in the election.

Possibly helping that Ward 5 turnout was Chip Smith’s write-in candidacy for Ward 5, which was announced on Oct. 24, just shortly before the election. But voter turnout in Ward 5 is typically strong, compared to other wards. Anglin received 2,112 votes (67.8%), with “Write-In” receiving 1,004 votes (32%). That write-in tally is for the number of voters who filled in the write-in bubble, not broken down by candidate or validated by election officials. The two declared write-in candidates in Ward 5 were Thomas Partridge and Chip Smith.

The percentage of votes received by Ward 5 write-in candidates was similar to that received by independent Ward 1 challenger Jeff Hayner. Hayner received 549 votes (31.9%), compared to 1,147 votes (66.6%) for the incumbent Democrat Sabra Briere. Independent Jaclyn Vresics, who had announced she was withdrawing from the race – but not in time to prevent her name from appearing on the ballot – received 20 votes (1.2%).

In Ward 3, Democrat Stephen Kunselman received 1,545 votes (70.3%) compared to Sam DeVarti’s 618 (28.1%). Kunselman told The Chronicle that on Election Day, for two of the city’s five wards (Ward 3 and Ward 5) he managed to collect enough signatures to satisfy the requirement for his 2014 mayoral election effort. He collected 60 signatures in each of those wards, which gives him a margin of 10 over the minimum 50 in each ward.

As in Ward 5, in Ward 4 the write-in tally of 209 (11%) is for the number of voters who filled in the write-in bubble, but those have not yet been validated. So declared write-in candidate William Lockwood could have received a maximum of 11% of the vote. It’s possible some number of those write-ins were tallied for a joke candidate, Twenty Pound Carp.

Results here are unofficial. For unofficial results compiled by the Washtenaw County clerk’s office, including maps, see: Election Results.

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  1. By Alan Goldsmith
    November 6, 2013 at 12:01 pm | permalink

    Thanks for your outstanding coverage of the Ann Arbor election. The A2C site was the only place to get complete, accurate and timely election totals during the vote counting process. Your coverage was greatly appreciated.

  2. By Mark Koroi
    November 6, 2013 at 7:00 pm | permalink

    I was at the Lumm victory party at Paesano’s.

    Jane Lumm won the absentee ballots by a very wide margin but also did very well in precinct voting on Election Day. By the time all of the precincts had reported – the only issue was whether the absentee balloting – reported last – would make a difference – it did not, except to widen the margin of victory for Ms. Lumm.

    Jack Eaton, Mike Anglin, Sumi Kailasapathy, Steve Kunselman, and Lumm were present and posed together for a snapshot after victory was confirmed.

    A salient feature of the Lumm campaign party was the broad-based support of the electorate. GOP stalwarts such as John Floyd appeared as well as many Democratic Party activists – such as Dave DeVarti and Vivienne Armentrout.

    Despite a sophisticated campaign organization and substantial financial support, this was another case of a Hieftje-endorsed candidate losing in a landslide in a City Council election in recent years; incumbent Steve Rapundalo only garnered 39% of the general election vote against Jane in 2011 and Marcia Higgins 35% of the vote in the Fourth Ward Democratic primary in 2013. Some speculated at the Lumm party that this was proof that the electorate had turned against the “Council Party” aligned with the mayor that has dominated Ann Arbor city government during the last dozen years.

    The substantial Chip Smith Fifth Ward write-in showing was attributed largely to effective social media efforts. Some noted that the write-in votes percentage (32%) against Mike Anglin actually approached the 34% collected by Neal Elyakin in the 2011 Democratic Party primary against Mr. Anglin.

  3. By Herb
    November 6, 2013 at 7:53 pm | permalink

    Looks like AAPS pulled off its usual tricks of disguising operating expenses as capital costs and then sneaking a millage extension through in a low interest, low turnout off-year election. More surprisingly, this forum did not run any articles about AAPS during the election runup. Perhaps it and AAPS did not want comments used to generate opposition to this sleazy business. Media generally claim to have a certain editorial independence but ABC (Advertising Subservience, Boosterism, Consumerism) ensnarement almost always occurs. Why would Ann Arbor Chronicle be different?

  4. By Steve Bean
    November 6, 2013 at 8:20 pm | permalink

    @2: Herb, I think you’ll need to offer some details to support and explain that assertion or else most of us won’t have much to consider on that topic.

  5. November 6, 2013 at 9:09 pm | permalink

    Herb, current state law (you can thank Proposal A) forbids school districts from going to their voters for additional operating funds. In my opinion, that is a terrible shame. It does not forbid school districts for asking voters for money for non-operating funds (capital, technology, etc.)

    I think what we have here, is the school district identifying anything that could be funded by another fund and asking voters to support it. Would I prefer to be asked directly for operating funds? Yes. I would rather fund teachers and school operating costs directly. Is that an option? No.

    And at the same time, school funding has been cut significantly. (See this piece from Michigan Parents for Schools: [link]). Ann Arbor schools are trying to preserve funding in the classrooms, and a way to do that is by funding infrastructure and technology separately. You don’t have to agree with it, but I don’t think they’ve been sneaky about it–the school board has been quite explicit about it.

    And by the way, the Ann Arbor Chronicle has also been explicit about why they cut back on schools coverage: [link]

  6. By Herb
    November 7, 2013 at 6:33 pm | permalink

    According to an article in today’s Ann Arbor News only 12% of the electorate voted on this millage extension. The purpose of Proposal A was to stop extractive minorities from jacking up the rates like this. AAPS should be ashamed of itself but of course is not.

    Hopefully AAPS in anything like its present form will not be around much longer. Most “teaching” will probably be via internet modules in a few years. The few students who actually want to learn will migrate to charters, private schools and home schooling.

    The main current functions of AAPS, entertaining students, indoctrinating them in political correctness and providing day care for working parents will fortunately mostly cease.

  7. By Timothy Durham
    November 9, 2013 at 9:24 am | permalink

    “Extractive minorities?” Charming.

  8. By John Floyd
    November 13, 2013 at 12:24 am | permalink

    @6 Herb,

    In America, each of us is entitled to our opinion, and to express it in public. Bully for you, for being concerned enough and having gumption enough to exercise those rights.

    As the parent of two current AAPS students, my experience has been that the bulk of my kid’s teachers are/have been pretty good instructors. You can make a strong case that the factory model of education has its limitations (including that an element of babysitting is one of the factory model’s inevitable results), but that is not in the teacher’s bailiwick: that’s the environment they are given. While I have my suspicions about the politics of my kids’ teachers, with two or three exceptions over 20 pupil-years, I have no actual knowledge of their politics. While I have seen teachers work to make potentially dry material interesting to students, on the whole my kids have not been given a song & dance by the AAPS.

    I am sorry that (apparently) your experience has been different.