Stories indexed with the term ‘2014 elections’

Judicial Races Winnow Choices for Fall

Julia Owdziej and Tracy Van den Bergh will advance to the Nov. 4 election for Washtenaw County probate judge, following the outcome of a five-way race in the nonpartisan Aug. 5 primary.


Charts showing the outcome of the Aug. 5 nonpartisan primary for Washtenaw County probate judge and 22nd circuit court judge. The top two vote-getters in each race will advance to the Nov. 4 general election.

And in the 22nd circuit court race, Patrick Conlin and Veronique Liem prevailed over Michael Woodyard to advance to the Nov. 4 election.

Countywide, Conlin received 16,043 votes (44.85%) and Liem garnered 14,779 votes (41.32%). Coming in third was Woodyard with 4,856 votes (13.58%). Overall, 44,823 ballots were cast throughout Washtenaw County in this race, which translated to a 16.28% turnout, according to unofficial results on the Washtenaw County elections website.

The winner of the Nov. 4 contest between Conlin and Liem will fill the open seat left by judge Donald Shelton, who turned 70 in June. According to Michigan state law, only a person under the age of 70 can be appointed or run for the position of judge.

Conlin and Liem are local attorneys, while Woodyard works in the Wayne County prosecutor’s office. A second seat on the 22nd circuit court is also up for election, as judge David Swartz is at the end of a six-year term. He is uncontested in his effort to retain the 22nd circuit court incumbent seat.

In the probate judicial race, five candidates competed in the Aug. 5 primary: Jane Bassett, Tamara Garwood, Constance Jones, Tracy Van den Bergh and recently appointed judge Julia Owdziej.

Owdziej received 11,314 votes (31.21%) with Van den Bergh getting 10,172 votes (28.06%). They will advance to the Nov. 4 general election. Bassett received 5,207 votes (14.36%), with 4,925 votes for Garwood (13.59%), and 4,560 votes for Constance Jones (12.58%). In this race, 44,890 ballots were cast countywide, for a voter turnout of 16.3%, according to unofficial results posted by the Washtenaw County elections division.

Owdziej had been appointed to the seat by Gov. Rick Snyder on June 2, 2014, to fill the vacancy on the court left by Nancy Wheeler’s retirement. The announcement of that retirement came on May 1, after candidates had filed to run. Wheeler was expected to retire at the end of the year, but it came earlier than expected due to health reasons. Bassett, Garwood and Jones currently work in private practice while Van den Bergh is a staff attorney for a legal services nonprofit.

Both judicial races showed a similar pattern, comparing the countywide vote to the city of Ann Arbor. The two candidates who were strongest across the county – Conlin for the circuit judgeship and Owdziej for the probate judgeship – were not the strongest candidates in the city of Ann Arbor. Strongest in the city of Ann Arbor for probate and circuit court were Liem and Van den Bergh, respectively.

Below are charts showing outcomes for both the probate and 22nd circuit court judicial races, with a ward-by-ward breakdown for the city of Ann Arbor. [Full Story]

A2: Candidates

The Jim Toy Community Center has released the results of its first municipal candidate questionnaire for the 2014 primary elections. The center received responses from 25 candidates, answering questions that were designed to gauge and elicit commitments to LGBTQ issues and equality. Candidates’ responses were then coded and rated on a five-point scale. All but two of the candidates received 4, 4.5 or 5 points. [Source]

Local Candidates Sketch Views on the Arts

Editor’s note: The candidate forum was moderated by the writer, Chronicle publisher Mary Morgan.

Twenty candidates for political office attended a forum hosted by the Arts Alliance on July 23, held at the Michigan Theater in downtown Ann Arbor and focused on the creative sector.

Arts Alliance executive director Deb Polich

Arts Alliance executive director Deb Polich. (Photos by Dave Askins.)

The event included presentations by each candidate as well as opportunities for questions from the audience, and drew out policy positions related to the arts.

County-level candidates shared their thoughts on the possibility of a countywide arts millage.

And mayoral candidate Sally Petersen took the occasion to float the idea of an Ann Arbor city income tax as an approach that would generate more revenue, at the same time shifting some of the burden of local government funding to those who work in Ann Arbor but do not live here.

Bryan Kelly, independent candidate for mayor of Ann Arbor in the Nov. 4 general election, made his first public appearance since qualifying for the ballot. “I can say firsthand that being an artist is the toughest damn job in the world. I’d rather run for mayor than keep writing novels,” he quipped.

Ypsilanti mayoral candidate Tyrone Bridges shared an example of his daughter’s artwork with forum attendees.

Favorite public art named by the candidates included the mosaic adorning the Fourth and Washington parking structure, as well as the half-mile of daffodils planted in The Arb.

And Ann Arbor Ward 5 incumbent Chuck Warpehoski delivered his opening statement in the form of a rap.

In her remarks at the end of the forum, Arts Alliance executive director Deb Polich urged candidates and elected officials to tap into the experts who know the creative sector. She encouraged candidates to touch base with ArtServe Michigan and the Arts Alliance to get accurate information. Ann Arbor is losing ground to other communities like Grand Rapids and Detroit, she said, and that’s why public funding and investment in the arts is important. “Private funding is absolutely here in this county, but it’s not enough – there’s not enough.”

It’s not just about funding, however. Polich stressed the importance of public policy to make the city a fertile ground for the creative sector.

Polich reported that the Arts Alliance will be holding a statewide conference called Creative Convergence on March 19, 2015. Thought leaders from across the country, state and Washtenaw County will be coming to speak about these issues, she said.

This report focuses on state and local candidates, including the Ann Arbor mayoral and city council races, Washtenaw County commissioners, and state legislators. It also includes responses to a candidate survey distributed by the Arts Alliance prior to the forum. Not included here are statements by the two Congressional candidates who attended the forum: Democrat Debbie Dingell, who’s running in the primary against Raymond Mullins of Ypsilanti for the District 12 seat in the U.S. House of Representatives; and Republican Douglas Radcliffe North, who’s running against incumbent Republican Tim Walberg for the District 7 seat in the U.S. House.

The outcomes of many of the local races will be determined in the Aug. 5, 2014 Democratic primary elections, if no Republicans or independent candidates are running. More information about candidates can be found on the Washtenaw County elections division website. Check the Michigan Votes website to find out your polling location and view a sample ballot. [Full Story]

How Much They Raised: Ann Arbor Races

Candidates in the Aug. 5, 2014 primaries had until Friday, July 25 to file pre-primary finance reports for the reporting period that ended July 20.

Based on filings made so far, here’s a breakdown of how much cash (as opposed to in-kind contributions) was raised in the city council and mayor’s races in Ann Arbor. Links go to the detailed filings available from the city clerk’s office.

[Not all candidates had filed by Friday morning, but they'll have until 5 p.m. to get their paperwork in. Links and dollar amounts will be updated as that information becomes available.]

Court: Don’t Count Ward 3 Defective Ballots

In a ruling from federal judge Lawrence Zatkoff, the city of Ann Arbor has been ordered not to count votes in the Ward 3 city council primary race that were cast on misprinted absentee ballots – which omitted the name of one of the candidates. The order was issued on July 22, 2014. [.pdf of July 22, 2014 order]

The ruling makes clear that votes in races other than the Ward 3 city council race can be counted from the misprinted ballots. In-person voting takes place on Aug. 5, 2014.

That ruling came in response to a motion filed by Ward 3 candidate Bob Dascola’s attorney, Tom Wieder, on  July 7, 2014, asking that the city be enjoined from counting votes in … [Full Story]