Election 2012: Mayor John Hieftje's only challenger disqualified from running as Republican
Albert Howard has been disqualified from running as a Republican against Democratic Mayor John Hieftje this year, but he's not counting himself out.
He pulled petitions on Friday to run as an Independent and has until July 19 to file to be placed on the November ballot. Hieftje has no other challengers right now.
City Clerk Jacqueline Beaudry confirmed Howard didn't turn in enough valid signatures by the May 15 deadline to run as a partisan candidate.
Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com
Mayoral candidates must submit 50 valid signatures from registered voters in each of the city’s five wards for a total of 250 signatures.
While Howard had more than 50 signatures from the 1st Ward, only 44 were determined to be from valid registered voters.
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.
Howard and his wife have eight children, all of whom joined him while collecting petition signatures in Ann Arbor.
He tweeted this on Monday: "#Reasons2Run for public office/purpose in a time capsule/and it's like fire shut up in my bones. Jeremiah 20:9 #theocratic #backtothebasics."
Hieftje has been mayor since 2000. He was last re-elected in November 2010, pulling 82 percent of the vote compared to 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 to Lesko's 15.6 percent.