Taylor and candidates he endorsed won all six nominations, defeating two opposition incumbents in the process. Though Taylor still faces independent Eric Lipson in November, he’s all but certain to emerge from the general election with an 11–0 council majority.

The biggest winner was Ward One’s Cynthia Harrison, who crushed Angeline Smith by a margin of 71–29 percent. Next was Taylor himself, who beat former Ward One rep Anne Bannister 61 percent to 38 percent, followed closely by Ward Five’s Jenn Cornell, who ousted incumbent Ali Ramlawi 57 percent to 43 percent. Ward Four’s Dharma Akmon squeezed out a win, 49 percent to 46 percent, with just 165 more votes than incumbent Elizabeth Nelson. (Unaligned candidate Mozhgan Savabieasfahani got the other 5 percent). Ward Two’s Chris Watson and Ward Three’s Ayesha Ghazi Edwin were unopposed in both the primary and on November’s general election ballot.

Anne Bannister got 38 percent of the vote against Christopher Taylor. | Photo: J. Adrian Wylie

“You either run unopposed or afraid,” Taylor says of his own campaign. “I worked incredibly hard [and] knocked over 6,200 doors.” He says that he felt “optimistic” about the outcome partly because “I spent most of my own personal time talking to voters in Wards One, Four, and Five. I felt like those messages were resonating.”

Harrison says she knew she’d do well “because of the reception I got on the doors.” When she lost “roughly six weeks” of campaigning to Covid, Taylor, Akmon, and Cornell picked up some of the slack.

Cornell says she went into election night sick with anxiety. She credits her win to “persistence. In the last week before the election alone, my campaign knocked 2,000 doors, including ones we’d already been on.”

“I knocked a lot of doors twice, sometimes three times,” Akmon says in explaining her 165-vote win. “I was out there almost every day. I started campaigning on doors in March. I gave it everything that I could, and the fact that it was so close told me that that is what it required.”

Along with effort, Taylor’s faction had a lot more cash. According to their July statements, Bannister and her allies raised $84,768, just beating the $83,959 contributed to Taylor’s last opponent, Jack Eaton, and his allies in 2018. But the mayor’s side had a big lead that year, raising $119,517—and four years later, they added almost $100,000, for a total of $218,349.

A list of “Contributions from Development Interests,” circulated by email, implied that Taylor’s faction was being paid back for its pro-growth policies, particularly rezoning hundreds of acres around Briarwood for much denser “transit-oriented development.” As Nelson noted in a blog post at the time, “a significant number of these parcels are owned, managed, or otherwise affiliated with owners/executives at Oxford Companies, who actively support and donate money to Mayor Taylor and the current majority on Council.” 

Both Oxford CEO Jeff Hauptman and his wife gave $2,000 contributions to Taylor’s campaign, as did real estate investor Mark Hutton. And the mayor’s biggest contribution, $5,000, came from a group with a vested interest in construction: the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters. But Taylor also did well in the tech sector, with donations of $2,000 each from Duo Security cofounder Jon Oberheide and his wife, Ashley, and Ward Two councilmember Linh Song, wife of Duo cofounder Dug Song. (Song herself isn’t running this year—her term is up in 2024.) 

What will the victors do with their mandate? “We’re here to accomplish a wide range of things,” Taylor says, including “substantial improvement in the roads” and “generation-level capital improvements” in the water treatment plant. They’ll also be “looking for an unarmed response program that gives folks an alternative to calling 911 when it’s not an emergency,” maintaining the city’s parks and natural areas, and building “new, permanent affordable housing.”

Taylor has another huge goal for the city: “achieving the moral imperative of our carbon neutrality goals.” A proposed Climate Action Millage on the November ballot would cost homeowners $100 per year for every $100,000 of taxable home value, and would raise an estimated $150 million over twenty years for climate-action goals.

The money would finance solar and geothermal installations, electric-car charging stations, non-motorized paths, recycling and reuse programs, and other initiatives to meet the city’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.