Local Dems Pull 2014 Council Primary Petitions

According to city clerk records, two sitting Ann Arbor city councilmembers have now pulled petitions to seek re-election in 2014 – Sumi Kailasapathy (Ward 1) and Chuck Warpehoski (Ward 5). They are both Democrats, first elected to the council in 2012.

Ann Arbor city councilmembers serve two-year terms on the 11-member body, which includes the mayor and two representatives from each of five wards.

Kailasapathy responded to a Chronicle query by saying she planned to file signatures by the end of the month. Candidates must submit at least 100 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. She took out the petitions today (Nov. 21, 2013).

The Chronicle asked Warpehoski if his action to take out petitions on Nov. 7 reflected a deliberate decision not to run for mayor. His response: “I am not running for mayor. I am running for re-election to council.”

Other than Kailasapathy and Warpehoski, the clerk’s record shows one other councilmember who’s pulled petitions: Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) pulled petitions to run for mayor on Sept. 27, 2013, which has been previously reported.

On Election Day, Nov. 5, 2013, Kunselman stood outside polls in wards 5 and 3 to collect the 50 signatures per ward he needed for those wards. Asked today where his effort stood, Kunselman indicated he had about half of the signatures required in Ward 4, so about half of the total he needs citywide.

Kunselman won re-election to represent Ward 3 on Nov. 5, so if he were to win election as mayor that would leave one of the Ward 3 seats vacant. The vacancy would be filled under the city charter through appointment by the council. This procedure was used when current mayor John Hieftje was elected mayor while serving as a Ward 1 city councilmember. The council appointed Bob Johnson to fill that seat in 2000.

Hieftje has already announced he will not seek re-election for an eighth term.

Speculation about others who might run for mayor include two other current councilmembers, Sally Petersen (Ward 2) and Christopher Taylor (Ward 3). They would both need to choose to run either for mayor or for re-election to their council seats. Sabra Briere (Ward 1) is also seen as a potential mayoral candidate, but was just returned to her seat by voters, so she would not face that choice.