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Incumbents handily defeat challengers in Ann Arbor council contests

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With all precincts counted, the three incumbents with opponents on the ballot cruised to victory Tuesday. Democrat Sabra Briere easily fended off independent Jeff Hayner in Ward 1. Independent Jane Lumm held off two opponents, Democrat Kirk Westphal and Mixed Use Party candidate Conrad Brown, in Ward 2. Democrat Eric Kunselman won in a walk over Mixed Use Party candidate Samuel DeVarti in Ward 3.

In Wards 4 and 5, Democrats Jack Eaton and Mike Anglin faced only write-in opposition. Newcomer to city council Eaton won in a landslide over William Lockwood and "Twenty Pound Carp." Incumbent Anglin blew out two write-in candidates, Tom Partridge and Chip Smith.

Briere, Lumm, and Kunselman had been endorsed by the Ann Arbor News, the city's online newspaper. Two of the losing candidates, Hayner and Westphal, were endorsed by the Michigan Daily, the University of Michigan student newspaper.

Briere won with 1139 votes (66.30%) to Hayner's 549 (31.96%), sweeping her challenger in all ten precincts of Ward 1. Despite suspending her campaign two months ago, Mixed Use Party candidate Jaclyn Vresics still earned 20 votes. Turnout was light at 9.03%, the lowest among all five wards.

In the heaviest turnout contest of the night, with 19.83% voting, Lumm held on with 2071 votes (55.66%) to Westphal's 1549 (41.63%) and Brown's 71 (1.91%). Despite the 14% margin, Westphal managed to win two precincts of Ward 2, Precinct 1 and Precinct 2. Both adjoined parts of the University of Michigan campus, so at least some students heeded the Michigan Daily's endorsement of Westphal and voted accordingly.

Kunselman faced only DeVarti and consequently had the highest margin of victory of any incumbent with a challenger on the ballot. The incumbent Democrat earned 1545 votes (70.42%) to DeVarti's 618 (28.17%), more than 42%. Turnout in Ward 3 was relatively light at 11.68%.

The big fish award of the night went to Eaton, who had the highest percentage victory margin of any candidate. The newcomer to city council garnered 1678 votes (88.92%) to 209 (11.08%) for both write-in candidates, the serious Lockwood and the silly (and ineligible) "Twenty Pound Carp." Eaton jokingly told the Ann Arbor News that he was "relieved" to have beaten the fishy opponent. While the margin of nearly 78% was high, Ward 4's turnout of 10.94% was the second lowest in the city.

Despite Anglin facing only token write-in opposition, Ward 5 had the second highest turnout with 15.37%. Anglin earned 2112 votes(67.78%), the highest vote total of any candidate running last night, while his two write-in opponents combined for 1004 votes (32.22%).

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