Possibly a sign of approval of the mayor’s restructuring of the city government in his last term, voters in Ann Arbor by an overwhelming majority renewed Democrat John Hieftje’s term as mayor in yesterday’s election.
Hieftje, a real estate agent, ran against Republican Councilwoman Marcia Higgins, an executive assistant for Ardesta L.L.C.
“This election is a huge affirmation of the project we have undertaken,” he said, emphasizing the city’s work in balancing the budget and protecting the environment.
Hieftje joined his fellow Democrats in celebrating victory at the Arbor Brewing Company on Washington Avenue last night. He said he would commemorate his victory by participating in a fishing trip with his family in northern Michigan.
Although all precincts had yet to report as of last night, the city tallied Hieftje’s victory against Republican Councilwoman Marcia Higgins by a margin of 24,092 to 7,849.
Democratic Councilman Chris Easthope, who ran unopposed in the election, said the continued Democratic leadership in the city places more accountability on its officials.
“Thursday night we’re going to get to work,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of responsibility with a 9 to 2 majority (on city council).”
Higgins, among Republican supporters at the Cottage Inn on William Street, was disappointed by the loss but tried to focus on the positive aspects of her campaign.
“I think that we did what we set out to do … and we got a lot of issues out there,” she said. “From there it’s the people’s choice.”
Many Republican supporters blamed straight ticket voting for the election results.
“It’s a shame that what’s at the top of the ticket has such an effect on what happens to us locally,” said Ingrid Sheldon, former Republican mayor of Ann Arbor.