In Ann Arbor’s only contested City Council race, incumbent Jane Lumm (I) defeated Sally Petersen (D) for the open seat in Ward 2, garnering 64.46 percent of the vote over Petersen’s 35.34 percent, with 100 percent of precincts reporting.
The turnout rate in Ward 2 was 7.7 percent. On Tuesday, 1,283 votes were cast. The ward has 16,650 registered voters.
The result will prevent Petersen from returning to elected office in Ann Arbor, after serving on the council from 2012 to 2014 until she forgoed her re-election campaign to conduct an unsuccessful mayoral run. Petersen and Lumm were not available for comment by telephone Tuesday evening.
Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor and Councilmember Kirk Westphal (D–Ward 2) endorsed Peterson. Councilmembers Mike Anglin (D–Ward 5), Jack Eaton (D–Ward 4), Sumi Kailasapathy (D–Ward 1) and Stephen Kunselman (D–Ward 3) endorsed Lumm.
The endorsements illustrates a split between members of the council aligned with Taylor and those who more frequently disagreed with his policy agenda.
The city’s forthcoming deer cull featured prominently in the Ward 2 race, and has generated debate in council over the last few months. The City Council voted in August to move forward with plans to manage the city’s deer population with a cull.
Lumm campaigned as a proponent for a deer cull while Petersen has voiced opposition to the plans.
Other key issues included previous experience on the council, transparency and attitudes toward new development within the city.
This election also drew large amounts of fundraising by both campaigns. Petersen raised $33,640 and spent $27,556. Lumm raised $25,035 and spent $12,418. Both also posted small amounts of late contributions filed after Oct. 23.
Lumm served as an independent on council since 2011, and previously held a council seat as a Republican in the 1990s. In April, she said the 2015 race would be her last. Before assuming a council seat in 2012, Petersen held positions in marketing at several firms in the Ann Arbor area and currently serves on the board of the Neutral Zone.
The University’s chapter of the College Democrats endorsed Petersen and actively canvassed door-to-door and made phone calls on her behalf. “While City Council doesn’t seem like it has much of an influence on you directly, that’s where a lot of the day-to-day things of your life are decided,” said LSA junior Stephen Culbertson, the College Democrats communications chair, Tuesday afternoon. “In a local municipal elections students don’t really see it as relevant to them as national politics, so we definitely want to encourage students to be involved at the local level.”
Tuesday’s overall voter turnout in Ann Arbor was 12.29 percent. Incumbent Sabra Briere, LSA senior Zachary Ackerman and incumbent Jack Eaton, all Democrats, won unopposed races in Wards 1, 3 and 4 respectively. Democrat Chip Smith easily defeated a write-in campaign for a seat in Ward 5.