In his successful mayoral campaign, Democrat Christopher Taylor got 27,979 votes. Independent Bryan Kelly got just 5,141. Measly as it is, that 15 percent showing was in line with those of other recent independent mayoral runs–Eric Plourde and Albert Howard did a little worse in 2008 and 2012, respectively, leaving Steve Bean’s 18 percent in 2010 as the high-water mark. In deep-blue Ann Arbor, no Republican has run for mayor since Jane Lumm in 2004.
Kelly describes his campaign as “a great learning experience” but says that in hindsight, he tried “for the wrong position. This was too important.” The right position would be “city council, but first I would benefit from being on a commission: parks advisory or the pension and retiree health care–but that one’s tightly focused and with a lot of professionals.”
If he runs again, Kelly says, he’ll remain independent. Another recent contrarian candidate, Will Leaf, has chosen a different path. “I’m excited by the possibilities of city government,” writes Leaf, whose Mixed Use Party unsuccessfully fielded two council candidates last November.
Leaf emails that the Mixed Use Party has dissolved: “We decided that it would be more effective to work within the existing party system.”So he plans to run as a Democrat against Sabra Briere in next August’s First Ward primary.
Briere is not cowed. “I look forward to being on the ballot in August–,” she emails, “and in November next year.”
This article has been edited since it appeared in the December 2014 Ann Arbor Observer. The original mistakenly said that Bryan Kelly planned to run as a Democrat in the future.