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Posted on Mon, May 7, 2012 : 7:20 a.m.

Republican Albert Howard says he plans to challenge Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje for his seat this year

By Ryan J. Stanton


Albert Howard was joined by his eight children while collecting petitions signatures in downtown Ann Arbor on Sunday afternoon. He plans to run as a Republican against Mayor John Hieftje in November.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje might face an opponent this year after all, after two other potential challengers appear to have backed away.

Albert Howard, a Republican from the city's 3rd Ward, pulled petitions on Thursday and spent part of the weekend going door-to-door collecting signatures from voters.

The deadline to file to appear on the ballot is May 15.

"I've noticed that the Democratic mayor's been in for a while and I just wanted to challenge him as a Republican," Howard said.


John Hieftje

"No one else has stepped up to the plate. I was surprised that I'm the first one right now," he said. "I just wanted to challenge him as American apple pie and see what happens."

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 on Sunday in Ann Arbor.

Asked what sets him apart from Hieftje, Howard cited the controversy over so-called "smart meters," which DTE Energy is installing on homes throughout the city. Hieftje has said he doesn't see a problem with them but some residents are concerned they pose a health risk.

"I want him to really consider the DTE Energy situation with the things that they're putting on the sides of the houses," Howard said. "He said he's going to consider it. I personally wouldn't allow it. I would not allow that on the side of the houses, the smart meters."

University Bank President Stephen Ranzini and Tom Wall, a retired special education teacher, both previously indicated they were exploring mayoral campaigns this year. Ranzini decided against it and Wall said he's likely not going to wage a campaign now either.

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.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.


Albert Howard

Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 4:38 p.m.

DTE Energy always had a trajectory with the 'smart meters'. This is not trivial. Now we are beginning to see their true colors/motives.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 5:12 p.m.

I would never vote for someone who doesn't think there should be a separation of church and state.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 4:52 p.m.

it looks like he also ran for Senate in West Virginia in 2010. how can he be a lifelong resident of Ann Arbor AND West Virginia? that was the special election to fill late Sen. Byrd's seat.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 3:11 p.m.

Nothing on Howard's web site really makes sense. Whats with the accurate prediction of the US goverment earthquake? My granddaddy alway said be wary of a man speaking with things nobody else sees.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 7:56 p.m.

Check out his youtube videos!


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 7:45 p.m.

Does he actually have a church somewhere or only a web page? Take a look at his web page: Prophet Albert Howard ... 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will no longer be the location of the White House. Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, MI will become the new Washington D.C. Gerald Ford was sworn in as the only chief executive in American history who hadn't been elected either president or vice president. Michigan Stadium will become the 'Motown' Christian Worship Music Capital of the World. Albert Benjamin Howard , are you ready to take the oath of office?"


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 7:21 p.m.

Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Instant vote from me! Now, others get out there too!


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 6:38 p.m.

So, we'll have a choice between a man who believes that god talks to him, and one who believes that he is. The debates should be good for a laugh, if nothing else.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 4:34 p.m.

Having to choose between this guy and hizzoner is further evidence that those folks that think A2 is a "smart" city are delusional.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 3:30 p.m.

"I just wanted to challenge him as American apple pie and see what happens." What does this even mean?

Bryan Ellinger

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 7:23 p.m.

Maybe he doesn't want to give his god's angels an even worse reputation for erroneous predictions, and this is the best he could conjure without divine influence?

Unusual Suspect

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 7:04 p.m.

If you don't know....

Tony Dearing

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 3:18 p.m.

A number of comments have been removed because they violated our conversation guidelines. We welcome a vigorous discussion, but please do not resort to name-calling. Thanks.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 3:13 p.m.

I remember this guy, didn't he run for President back in 2008?


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 3:14 p.m.

Guess I should have finished reading the article before posting "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."


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 3:12 p.m.

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. Really??? Red Flag!


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 2:42 p.m.

the only probable candidate to get hieftje the boot is stephan ranzini. he has a real degree, understands $$ and holds a real job. all things that cannot be said about our fearless leader. if we want hieftje out - we need to organize and court mr ranzini.

Unusual Suspect

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 7:03 p.m.

I don't know, but there's another one for you.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 4:31 p.m.

How do you give a thumbs down to a question?


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 3:49 p.m.

I'm just curious. Do you actually know Mr. Ranzini or anything about him?


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 3:11 p.m.

He would most certainly win if he ran. I do understand he's a very busy man and has to think of his family/career first. This is why we can't get a decent mayor in AA. Anyone worthy would have their own priorities "mucked up" by dealing with the goofy council peanut gallery. Who (in their right mind and if they had one) would want to take over as captain of a sinking ship!! Good luck A2 your ARE going to need it!!


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 2:34 p.m.

"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." Suddenly Hieftje looks normal.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 2:19 p.m.

I am sure he has more of a platform besides smart meters, I would like to hear it. Hieftje needs to move along. I will not vote for Hieftje so Howard just needs to make his case to me to get me to vote for him. Given that he is a pastor he has undoubtedly effected more lives for good then Hieftje would in his lifetime. Seperately Howard does have a nice cute bunch of kids there!

Bryan Ellinger

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 9:03 p.m.

Please visit his web sites, twitter feed etc., and then judge for yourself whether or not this man could make a case of anything but indigestion.!/AlbertHowardUSA

Unusual Suspect

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 7:03 p.m.

It's better than voting for somebody just because the letter "D" is sitting there next to his name, which is the typical AnnArborite's only criteria.

Tony Livingston

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 6:41 p.m.

Yes, let's elect someone because his kids are cute. Good idea.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 1:43 p.m.

I've spent years waiting for a viable, reasonable candidate to step up and mount a serious challenge to Hieftje — someone I can be enthusiastic voting for. I'm still waiting.

Dog Guy

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 1:22 p.m.

No one else claims an angel of the Lord as adviser, so he has my vote. A dozen years of guidance by a freelancing angel of Gaia has sunk us in a pit of taxes, fees, ugliness, crime, dead leaves, and public debt.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 12:43 p.m.

Do we "do it different" in Ann Arbor or what? We're screwed.

Bertha Venation

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 6:01 p.m.

Ya... no fooln' If you elect Bertie Venation Mayor, I will do my best to get art off the streets, out of the taxpayer's pockets, and back into schools


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 12:21 p.m.

If it is between Hieftje and Howard, Hieftje is the obvious choice.

Bertha Venation

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 3:22 p.m.

... and THAT's not saying much for anybody!


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 11:58 a.m.

Just what we need as an opponent for Hieftje. Someone that just wants to se what will happen. And whose biggest platform is that HE would not allow smart meters! I never thought I would say Hieftje is the only choice.

Mark Hergott

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 11:43 a.m.

Everyone who wishes to do so ought to run for public office. More voices and ideas are needed, in everything.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 12:22 p.m.

more voices doesn't always been better ideas. If we had more voices like Howard, we'd be completely screwed.