Albert Howard files to run as an Independent against Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje
Albert Howard, a conservative Republican, will challenge Democratic Mayor John Hieftje as an Independent in the November general election.
City Clerk Jackie Beaudry confirmed on Monday that Howard turned in 350 signatures and will appear on the ballot now.
He needed 50 signatures per ward, which he met, Beaudry said.
Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com
Howard, who is Hieftje's only challenger this year, tried to file in May to run for mayor as a Republican. He was disqualified after he failed to turn in enough valid signatures.
Howard and his wife, Ingrid, work together as pastors at Ann Arbor Different Church, where Howard is known for making prophecies.
A lifelong Ann Arbor resident and 1984 graduate of Huron High School, Howard waged a campaign for president of the United States in 2008, believing he was instructed by the "Angel of the Lord" to run against Hillary Clinton.
He later waged a campaign for the Ann Arbor school board last year but pulled only 3.5 percent of the vote.
Hieftje has been mayor since 2000. He was last re-elected in November 2010, pulling 82 percent of the vote compared with Independent challenger Steve Bean's 17.6 percent.
He also fended off Democratic challenger Patricia Lesko in the August 2010 primary with 83.9 percent of the vote compared with Lesko's 15.6 percent.
Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to AnnArbor.com's email newsletters.