Felicia Brabec leads Richard Conn in special race for Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners
Brabec, a psychologist and a social worker, spoke with AnnArbor.com shortly before 10 p.m. as she was finishing up a night working with her clients and picking up yard signs.
"It's such an honor the folks of Pittsfield have chosen for me to continue to work and advocate and be their voice on the board," she said. "I take this job very seriously, so it is just amazing to be the one entrusted to go out and talk to folks and bring that voice back. I'm humbled."
Brabec and Conn were competing for a chance to finish out the remaining eight months of the term vacated by Kristin Judge, who resigned from the county board last September.
Brabec was appointed to the seat in October, but had to fend off Conn to stay on through the end of this year. The district covers Pittsfield Township and has 23,632 registered voters, though only 1,554 — or about 6.6 percent — voted in the race.
Brabec will have to run in the August primary and November general election if she wants to continue serving another term after this year. She has indicated she plans to do so.
Differences between the two candidates came out in a debate held recently by the League of Women Voters in Ann Arbor.
Brabec voiced support for expanding public transit services throughout the county — an issue the county board is faced with now — while Conn said he's not sure that's a smart move.
They also took different stances on the privatization of services, with Brabec offering a more skeptical view.
Brabec had a natural advantage over Conn being the incumbent, even if she hasn't been on the ballot before.
Plus the district leans Democratic. Judge, a Democrat, defeated Republican challenger Sean Gray in November 2010, pulling 58 percent of the vote to Gray's 41 percent.
Two years before that, Judge beat Gray with 66 percent of the vote.
Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at email@example.com or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to AnnArbor.com's email newsletters.