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Posted on Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 8:32 p.m.

Eaton defeats Higgins in 4th Ward race for Ann Arbor City Council

By Ryan J. Stanton


Jack Eaton shares a laugh with City Council Member Sumi Kailasapathy, left, and Kathy Griswold, another campaign supporter, after hearing he had just won the 4th Ward race for the Ann Arbor City Council, unseating incumbent Marcia Higgins. Eaton celebrated at CUBS' A.C. Sports Bar & Restaurant, 1950 South Industrial Highway.

Chris Asadian |

With all precincts reporting, Democratic challenger Jack Eaton has defeated incumbent Marcia Higgins in the 4th Ward race for the Ann Arbor City Council.


Jack Eaton


Marcia Higgins

The vote count was 1,233-674, giving Eaton 65 percent, according to results posted on the county's website.

"I'm pleased with the results," Eaton said. "I'm glad the voters have entrusted me with this task and I want to thank Marcia for her many years of service on council."

This was Eaton's third attempt at running for City Council. He was unsuccessful in ousting Margie Teall in 2010 and 2012, but hoped he'd do better against Higgins — a 14-year incumbent who has faced criticism over her attendance record.

"I had a good feeling this time," Eaton said while celebrating with campaign supporters at CUBS' A.C. Sports Bar & Restaurant.

"I felt that this was going to happen and I'm a little astounded by how big the margin was, but it felt like a victory about a month ago and it's just been building since."

Higgins couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday night.

Eaton, a Southfield-based labor attorney who has lived in the 4th Ward since 1998, has said he'd bring a more sensible approach to city spending and get back to basics.

He wore out a pair of shoes this summer, going door to door five or six nights a week. He believes the city should focus on priorities like rebuilding the police and fire departments and paving roads before throwing more money at projects like a new train station.

Higgins, who first joined council as a Republican in 1999 and switched parties in 2005, has said there's still important work to be done on issues ranging from neighborhood flooding to downtown zoning and design guidelines, and she wanted to stay on the job.

Higgins' supporters had been fearful that Eaton would pull off a win this year. Mayor John Hieftje hit the campaign trail this summer, going door to door in support of Higgins.

Higgins tried to characterize Eaton as a naysayer during the campaign, saying he talks a lot about being a neighborhood activist but really just opposes new development and fears change.

Higgins, who oversaw the A2D2 process that brought new zoning with height limits and design guidelines for downtown, said the community decided it wanted density in the city's core.

Eaton said he supports density in the downtown core — just not where it has a negative impact on surrounding neighborhoods. He pointed to the approved 413 E. Huron high-rise and the Landmark high-rise along South U as examples of bad developments that Higgins supported.

Eaton also has criticized the city for not doing enough about neighborhood flooding problems. Higgins said that's an issue that's going to take time and the city is working on it.

Eaton advances unopposed in the November general election with no Independent or Republican candidates stepping up to run.

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.



Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 7:30 p.m.

Congratulations, Jack!

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 1:18 p.m.

Maybe there will be room on the DDA for Higgins.

Patricia Lesko

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 3:12 p.m.

There might be room, but John Hieftje doesn't have six votes to put her there.

Sam S Smith

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 2:57 p.m.

God forbid!


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 1:04 p.m.

As a new resident in the 4th ward I voted for change and I hope it will happen. Can city council do something about the cart litter that infests my neighborhood?


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 3:15 p.m.

cart litter or cat litter? If you've got a problem with garbage carts, contact A2 Community Standards.

Jack Gladney

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 2:11 p.m.

Hope and change. Sounds vaguely familiar...


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 1:23 p.m.


Elijah Shalis

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 12:55 p.m.

I bet Higgins will switch back to being a Republican and run for her seat in November. lol

Jack Gladney

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 2:08 p.m.

Unfortunately, the final filing deadline prevents Democrats from eating their own twice.

Ryan J. Stanton

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 1:08 p.m.

That'd be interesting, for sure, but filing deadline already passed!


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:23 a.m.

I don't think the article about Marcia's attendance record helped her much.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:52 a.m.

I don't think that the attendance record that the article was about helped much either.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:10 a.m.

"Higgins couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday night." Why am I not surprised? It will be interesting to see what position hizzoner appoints her to.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 5:51 p.m.

Depending on the results of current legal proceedings, I believe we'll be seeing a new member of the DDA who will guarantee more wasteful spending

Vivienne Armentrout

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 9:47 a.m.

This demonstrates the amazing power of's endorsements. May I suggest that you drop the practice? It'll never be missed. Congratulations, Jack! The hard work is just beginning.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 9:33 a.m.

What wonderful news. Is it possible things actually ARE going to get better? Mr. Eaton, congratulations, and please, PLEASE stick to your guns on sensible spending. I have no problem with a train station IF it's actually justified. I don't know for certain about whether police and fire need to be beefed up, but I DO know the roads in this city are awful and that I've watched wasteful spending in the hundreds of millions the last few years, a significant portion sunk within a half-mile radius of the Justice Center. It would be just wonderful to hear things during council meetings like "is this necessary for the continued operation of the city," or "this seems like a lot of money for very little payoff," or "I know I personally like this idea, but I can't justify spending so much on something that doesn't have any kind of tangible return on investment." Or even "well, it doesn't even seem like a good enough idea to spend all the money on consultants to begin with." Or "didn't we already do this study, and do we really need to set up another gaggle of consultants and commissions to do it again?" Lowering property taxes would be great, too.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 1:54 p.m.

Excellent statments that should be heard at every council meeting. Thank you.

Colorado Sun

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 5:16 a.m.

Jack Eaton also announced to well-wishers at his victory gathering that he would be introducing an ethics ordinance to regulate officials conduct. Mike Anglin, Steve Kunselman, Sumi Kailasapathy all stopped by to congratulate Mr.Eaton on his victory. Much credit to the unexpectedly lopsided victory can go to the following individuals: (A)Alan Goldsmith - Fourth Warder who has for the last three years exposed on blog posts Higgins' excessive absenteeism, non-responsiveness to constituents, lack of attention to issues, and horsing around during City Council meetings - at Jack's victory party supporters wanted to thank him for his non-stop disclosures however Goldsmith did not appear; (B)Kathy Griswold - campaign manager whose diligence in organizing fundraising and expenditures was invaluable; (C)Libby Hunter - Eaton campaign worker who gave grassroots assistance; (D)John Hieftje - Higgins supporter whose annoying door-to-door electioneering again netted a City Council incumbent less tha 40% of the vote - one can assume that no other City Council incumbent will allow Hizzoner to ever go door-to-door on his/her behalf. The Hieftje political machine is in a state of profound and turbulent decline.

Nic F.

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 4:14 a.m.

YES!!!! Let's hope the fourth ward becomes Ann Arbor's safes.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 3:34 a.m.

A minor correction to the caption in the first photo. Kathy Griswold was the campaign *manager* of Jack's extremely successful campaign. Great job, Kathy!


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 1:55 p.m.

If Ms. Griswold was Jack's campaign manager, why hasn't the caption been corrected?

Georgetown Dad

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 3:06 a.m.

Jack stopped by with one of our neighbors and introduced himself a few weeks ago. Great attitiude and it got me out to vote for him. And I can't remember the last time I voted in a council election. Good luck to him!

P. J. Murphy

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 2:54 a.m.

Disclaimer: After wavering, nail biting, and chin scratching, I voted for Eaton. To Marcia Higgins: Thank you for your near decade of service on the Council. As a 4th ward resident I think you did a fine job for many years, and that by itself is worthy of respect and recognition. However I think being a successful politician is not unlike the famous Chinese acrobatic were the performer spins multiple plates simultaneously. I don't know if it was a sense of entitlement or fatigue that I sensed, but in any case I was open to change. Just one too many plates on the floor. To Jack Eaton: Congratulations on your victory. Long pursued, finally achieved. I voted for you because I want a representative who pays attention to constituents. Who cares as passionately about this ward, and city as I do. Rest assured I will follow you carefully. Winning the race is just the beginning. If your abilities as a councilperson match your perseverance as a campaigner you can count on my continued support.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 2:49 a.m.

Its a sad day for Ann Arbor. We wish you well Marcia and hope you stay involved!


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 5:16 a.m.

It's a sad day for fountains! And we hope she goes away quietly!


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 2:32 a.m.

Sure wish we had some conservative or middle of the road alternatives to balance the city council.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 9:35 a.m.


The Eyes of Justice Team

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 2:22 a.m.



Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 2:22 a.m.

YES!!! Congratulations, Jack!!!!


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 2:17 a.m.

Maybe those in the 4th ward are waking up. Congrats to Mr. Eaton and I hope he sticks to his guns (eh, beliefs).

Anthony Clark

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 2:11 a.m.

This will be a welcome change on city council. Congratulations to Mr. Eaton.

Usual Suspect

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 2:03 a.m.

Great news!


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 1:55 a.m.

"He wore out a pair of shoes this summer, going door to door five or six nights a week. He believes the city should focus on priorities like rebuilding the police and fire departments and paving roads before throwing more money at projects like a new train station." Bravo, Mr Eaton! Congrats! Thank you in advance for bringing some sanity to city council! And goodbye to Ms Higgins.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 1:31 a.m.

It is great to see change coming to Ann Arbor.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 1:09 a.m.

YES! Thank you 4th ward voters for electing Mr Eaton. Hopefully this is the beginning of the end of the rubber stamping of Mayor/Prince John's ludicrous reign in AA.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 1:05 a.m.

Congratulations - great news! I think those of us in the 4th Ward will sleep a little better tonight! :D


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 1:05 a.m.

Woo Hoo!!!


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 1 a.m.

Wow! What is John boy going to do now without his rubber stamps on the Council? This is great. It reaffirms my faith in the voting electorate. Now perhaps we can get a few potholes fixed. :)

J. A. Pieper

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 12:57 a.m.

Great news, glad my vote counted!


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 3:50 a.m.

I think it was your sign ;) Thanks!

Alan Goldsmith

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 12:56 a.m.

Congrats Mr. Eaton on your landslide victory.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 12:49 a.m.