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Posted on Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 8:43 p.m.

Rapundalo beats Hull in 2nd Ward Democratic primary race for Ann Arbor City Council

By Ryan J. Stanton

Ann Arbor City Council Member Stephen Rapundalo, D-2nd Ward, defeated Democratic challenger Tim Hull Tuesday night to retain his seat on council.

With all precincts reporting, Rapundalo won 573 to 419.

Rapundalo, who was first elected to the City Council in 2005, will likely continue serving another two years on council. He faces no Republican challengers in November, and no independent or write-in candidate has stepped forward to challenge him.


Stephen Rapundalo, right, celebrates his victory Tuesday night at Arbor Brewing Co. with fellow Council Member Christopher Taylor and other supporters.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Hull, a 26-year-old computer programmer at the University of Michigan, waged a somewhat quiet campaign that challenged Rapundalo for approving cuts to police and fire services.

Neither candidate aggressively attacked the other during the campaign, even though Hull's backers included a list of people who are strong opponents of the council majority.

Rapundalo spoke with while celebrating at Arbor Brewing Co. after the election. Should he have the honor and privilege of serving 2nd Ward residents for another two years, Rapundalo said, there are a few main issues he'll work on.

"We obviously need to wrap up the labor union contracts and get everybody on board on an equitable level," he said, referring to concessions the city is seeking from its police and fire unions, as well as city employees represented by AFSCME.

"Secondly, I think we need to look at revenue restructuring," he said. "And then thirdly, I heard a lot from the constituents about customer service or lack thereof, and I think we need to kind of refocus our staff to make sure the residents — the clients that we serve — are in fact pleased with the service they get. So that's what I'm going to be working on."

Hull commented on Tuesday's outcome.

"It didn't go as I had hoped, but I feel like I put up a decent showing — better than any of the other challengers in the races, percentage-wise," he said. "It was good to give people a choice and have a nice campaign in the 2nd Ward and I plan to stay active in city politics."

Read all Ann Arbor election results.

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 e-mail newsletters.



Wed, Aug 3, 2011 : 7:42 p.m.

Frankly, the naive "move the money between buckets" and "represent our interests" tripe is getting a little tiring. How about some specific proposals you'd like our representatives to tackle? Don't want the city to lease out part of a money-losing golf course in your back yard? Don't want a city income tax? Don't want anyone to develop unused land anywhere? Let's hear your ideas on how the city can bring in money. While I don't agree with all of his votes, Rapundalo is an unusually coherent, collegial and hard working councilman who is saving you more tax money than you'll ever know. Please stop trash-talking the incumbents because they don't give your pet NIMBY delusions more airtime. How about thinking of more specific and constructive ways of making Ann Arbor better? And while I'm at it, a sarcastic "Huzzah" for voter turnout citywide! I'm glad we're special enough to feel the need for partisan local elections.


Fri, Aug 5, 2011 : 3:18 a.m.

TR—thanks for the reply. I'm conflicted about the process for approving a lease on Fuller. That said, from the start I disliked that Rapundalo and council approved that "ask voter" amendment for selling/trading/changing park land. What many people don't know is that the day after that proposal was passed, the city began missing out on opportunities to gain parkland in strategic places in exchange for selling pieces of truly useless park land. The problem with the "ask voter" idea is that only the "anti"s would show up and defeat proposals out of principle. (A broad generalization, but I think many would agree.) I think it's a good debate to have, whether the DDA is the expert of all parking, or just structured/lot parking. I have a feeling we'll hear the results about this, and I guess it's down the list of my concerns. I thought Rapundalo voted in favor of the Moravian and Heritage Row PUDs? Sorry if I don't have my facts right. I completely agree about the partisan nonsense. It's a charade designed to keep the machine candidates in office.

Terry Redding

Thu, Aug 4, 2011 : 1:52 a.m.

LN - since you seem relatively reasonable, I'm bored, and I like 2nd ward politics I'll offer you this... I've got no problem leasing out part of the golf course. I work outside of the city so at least in the short term I'd actually come out a big winner if we went more income than property tax. Further, I like the idea of people voting to increase taxes on their incomes, especially renters which make up a high percentage of certain wards, rather than voting to increase my property taxes which they feel no personal pain of their convictions. Specific action I wish Stephen had taken - for starters, how about a public vote on selling Fuller parkland? That would be more forthright than his stance of "its only a lease" so we don't have to take it to the voters. Also, how about his more than willingness to abdicate tough street parking and policing responsibility to the unelected DDA? His opposition to several PUDs near the Fingerle wasteland in favor of local slumlords (I lived in their houses while in college here so I know what I'm talking about). While I suspect we disagree on a number of policy issues, I thought you at least deserved to know that I'm making my decisions on actual issues and Stephen's position on them and not just another bandwagon "bucket crowd" (however, you have to admit that council invites this upon themselves as they furiously guard their buckets and then buy trees out of the waste/sewage capital fund, good grief.)

Terry Redding

Wed, Aug 3, 2011 : 7:23 p.m.

So that we're clear, I've had people call me a Republican on occassion (like that's a bad thing?) and Stephen is NOT my Republican, he's YOUR Democrat. So deal with it. Regardless of party, I am in strong agreement that he does not represent the northeast side of AA. I'll go further to say that I'm not convinced he represents the best interests of AA period in many (but not all) of the votes he casts. The biggest puzzler for me is who in the world could these local politicians are pandering to/for? Its local government for goodness sakes. If everyone would just focus on local quality of life and leave national political leanings out of the discussion then maybe some of these votes would be more to the benefit of everyone that lives in AA.


Wed, Aug 3, 2011 : 7:22 p.m.

Rapundalo, notice what a tight race it was. Why did you vote to cut the police force? Do you think you REALLY represent the 2nd ward's best interests? You represent your own interests, not ours!


Wed, Aug 3, 2011 : 5:06 p.m.

Now we find out that Ward too had the lowest voter turnout!! Only 6.4% of the voters voted... that's only 1,003 people out of 15,611 living in our ward. I give up...

Mr Blue

Wed, Aug 3, 2011 : 1:40 p.m.

Rapundalo, a "former" Republican, is a Dem only on the ballot. But leopards can't really change their spots. Folks who say there are no Republicans on council need to look closer than what appears after pols names on the ballot. Like most Republicans and conservatives, his votes reflect the interests of business community, Chamber of Commerce, real estate developers and status quo politics. Marcia Higgins is another conservative Republican on council and slowly over the years, the Council Party, led by Hieftje has quietly yet determinedly moved to the right. What was once considered liberal is now moderate Republican and what as once conservative is now Tea Party ultra conservative.


Wed, Aug 3, 2011 : 12:16 p.m.

I was the 48th voter at Thurston at 4pm. I voted for Tim Hull. Rapundalo does not care about the Northeast side of Ann Arbor. He's going to focus his time on "customer service"... whatever. He'll just do whatever the Mayor's orders him to do, as always. Same old city politics.

F. Andy Seidl

Wed, Aug 3, 2011 : 4:57 p.m.

I was the 42nd voter at noon (and I voted for Hull, too.) Very disappointing turnout.

Alan Goldsmith

Wed, Aug 3, 2011 : 11:51 a.m.

"With all but one precinct reporting, Rapundalo was winning 573 to 419." Pretty close race in comparison to the other two wards... "revenue restructuring"? Lol..a tip of the hat to George Orwell!

Terry Redding

Wed, Aug 3, 2011 : 9:43 a.m.

I think what is most disappointing to me is that the race was determined by fewer than 1,000 people. In my precinct I was the 3rd person to vote at around 8 am and my wife was the 57th at around 7 pm. I knew the outcome before I woke this morning. We get the government we vote for. I would suggest that everyone from the 2nd ward who likes to complain about ANYTHING in city politics who didn't vote in yesterday's election should refrain from posting for the next two years as you obviously don't have the strength of your conviction to get off your lazy butts and cast a ballot. Thanks to those of you who did vote, regardless of how you cast your ballot.

Terry Redding

Wed, Aug 3, 2011 : 12:09 p.m.

For those of you who had legitimate reasons for not reaching the polls (on vacation, work, all day wedding anniversary celebration, etc.) I appologize for calling you lazy.


Wed, Aug 3, 2011 : 6:58 a.m.

Nice job, Tim Hull. This guy is beatable - the results were closer than many would have expected. Another 2 years of Hieftjeism and we may may be able to get rid of the lot of them who support him, including Rapundalo. I look forward to the majority of Ann Arborites being represented by politicians who look after THEIR interests, be they public safety, streets and basic infrastructure, not squandering scarce tax dollars on useless fluff, or the University's pet projects.

Vivienne Armentrout

Wed, Aug 3, 2011 : 3:16 a.m.

Notice that all the Council Party candidates met at the Arbor Brewing Company? They tend to have joint parties at this one location.


Wed, Aug 3, 2011 : 2:59 a.m.

How unfortunate. Many Ward 2 constituents are not happy with Councilman Rapundalo's failure to represent their interests in favor of his own. Their dissatisfaction is reflected in the relatively close voting results involving an opponent with little recognition or funding.


Wed, Aug 3, 2011 : 1:48 a.m.

Did Rapundalo vote for the $150k art yesterday? I supported his opponent, Tim Hull, because Hull said he would have liked to move money around between the "buckets" so that our cash-strapped city could move money out of the art fund to pay for police. Is Rapundalo going to do this?


Wed, Aug 3, 2011 : 1:46 a.m.

Need some good middle of the road independent to run. It's obvious that a Republican could never win.


Wed, Aug 3, 2011 : 1:13 a.m.

I hope Stephen Rapundalo notices that many of his constituents are less than enthusiastic about his 6 years in office and that he tries to make some changes. Not supporting his own ward on the Huron Hills golf course was disappointing behavior. Since he is to be our elected official again, maybe he could work harder to represent our interests?


Wed, Aug 3, 2011 : 1:27 a.m.

Why should he?


Wed, Aug 3, 2011 : 1:04 a.m.

Here we go again.