Incumbent Councilmember Chuck Warpehoski (D–Ward 5), who has served four years on the Ann Arbor City Council, defeated political newcomer David Silkworth (I) Tuesday in the Ward 5 City Council race. Of the five Council member positions up for re-election this cycle, Ward 5 was the only contested race. This will be Warpehoski’s third term on City Council.
Warpehoski garnered approximately 74 percent of the vote on Election Day for the ward with a total of 9,686 votes, and won the majority in all 11 of the ward’s precincts. Silkworth won approximately 26 percent of the vote, with 3,382 votes total.
In the August primary, Warpehoski defeated challenger Kevin Leeser, a nurse in the University of Michigan Health System, by a margin of 2,424 to Leeser’s 1,120.
The election was Silkworth’s first run for public office. He has lived in Ann Arbor since attending college at the University and currently works as an insurance claims representative for homeowners and businesses.
After all Ward 5 precincts were reported, Warpehoski said in an interview that the election indicates approval of the work he has done during his time on the council.
“The results that I saw that came through were very positive,” Warpehoski said. “I think it shows the community is supportive of my leadership. I boost pride in being able to bring people together when I can. I make the hard decisions when I have to, and that’s the direction we are trying to move the city into.”
Silkworth was not available for comment when contacted Tuesday night.
Warpehoski campaigned on improving affordable housing and transportation in the city. In an October interview, he said he sees future development projects as essential to solving the city’s affordable housing problem, attributing the issue to supply shortages.
“Part of it is a supply and demand problem,” Warpehoski said at the time. “One of the ways to address that part of the housing affordability problem is to increase our housing supply, so I am in favor of policies that help us increase our housing supply.”
In contrast, Silkworth said in an October interview that he believes is currently a pro-development imbalance on City Council. During his campaign, he emphasized the need to protect single-family neighborhoods from more large development projects.
“While very good at soft conversation, when it comes to hard issues, (current City Council members) always come down on the side of development,” Silkworth said in October.
In the October interview, Warpehoski also noted that addressing the dioxane plume will continue to be a central issue during his term.
In an Oct. 31 City Council special session, council members voted unanimously on pursuing new legal action against the original polluter, Gelman, which has since been purchased by the Pall Corporation. This came after an October town hall meeting on the 1,4-dioxane plume recently found in Ann Arbor’s shallow groundwater. About 100 community members and experts were in attendance.