Ping ousts Prater from seat on Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners
Washtenaw County Commissioner Wesley Prater, D-York Township, has lost his spot on the board after losing to fellow incumbent Alicia Ping, R-Saline, in Tuesday's general election.
With 95 percent of the precincts reporting early Wednesday morning, Ping gained 55.75 percent of the vote and Prater gained 43.91 percent of the vote.
The lines of the 3rd District were re-drawn in 2011 to wrap Prater's residence into the new 3rd District -- the majority of which contains Ping's Republican base in the southwest corner of Washtenaw County.
Prater, a Democrat with longstanding supporters in Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township, lost some of his strongest supporters in the redistricting. Prater has been a staple in Washtenaw County politics for decades.
Prater represented the 4th District on the county board, which encompasses York Township, Augusta Township and the eastern half of Ypsilanti Township. His district was essentially eliminated in the county's redistricting process.
Tuesday morning, Ping and Prater reportedly encountered each other and hugged each other, according to a tweet from Ping.
Both have said previously they would not insult the other. Ping filed a waiver stating she was not going to spend more than $1,000 on the campaign and felt confident about her chances for remaining on the board before the election.
Tuesday, Prater said he had been working hard to talk to voters at the polls in Saline.
Prater was first elected to the county board in 2000, where he served until 2006. He was re-elected in 2008. Previously, Prater served 14 years as a trustee on the Ypsilanti Township board from 1974 to 1988, and was later elected Ypsilanti Township supervisor from 1988 to 1996. He was employed for about 25 years with the Ann Arbor Fire Department.
The loss of Prater's voice from the board means a loss of a champion for public-sector employees on the board, said Board of Commissioner chairman Conan Smith Tuesday night.
"Prater brought a real public service experience to the board," Smith said. "He understood what it was like being on the staff."