You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 3:59 p.m.

Political notebook: Potential challengers emerge for Ann Arbor City Council seats in Wards 2 and 3

By Ryan J. Stanton

Two potential challengers have emerged in this year's Ann Arbor City Council races and have pulled nominating petitions from the city clerk's office as they explore running for office.

Marwan Issa, 27, technology director at Global Education Excellence in Ann Arbor, has pulled petitions to run against 3rd Ward incumbent Stephen Kunselman.

Tim Hull, 25, a programmer at the University of Michigan, has pulled petitions to run against 2nd Ward incumbent Stephen Rapundalo.

Pulling petitions is the first step toward getting on the August primary ballot. They still have to collect 100 signatures and submit them to the city clerk to make their candidacies official.


Ann Arbor City Council Member Stephen Kunselman, D-3rd Ward, is one of five council members up for re-election this year. His first potential challenger has emerged.

Ryan Stanton |

Issa and Hull would face off against Kunselman and Rapundalo, respectively, in the Democratic primary in August for a chance to compete in the November general election.

"I'm exploring a bid and decided to start circulating petitions," Hull said today, adding that he didn't want to comment further until his candidacy is official.

Issa could not be reached for comment.

Hull received a master's of science in information from U-M's School of Information in 2010 after double-majoring in history and computer science for his undergraduate degree from U-M in 2008. He's known for speaking out semi-regularly during the public commentary periods at Ann Arbor City Council and Ann Arbor Transportation Authority meetings.

Issa is the founder of a startup company called School Wide Solutions. He also considered a run for City Council two years ago.

He received a master's of science in information from U-M's School of Information in 2006 after studying computer science for his undergraduate degree from U-M in 2004. He completed his Ph.D. studies in the area of technology at Eastern Michigan University in 2010.

Other council members up for re-election this year include Sabra Briere, D-1st Ward; Marcia Higgins, D-4th Ward; and Mike Anglin, D-5th Ward. All intend to defend their seats.

Under new rules, City Council candidates running in odd-year elections must file 12 weeks in advance of the the August primary. This year's filing deadline is 4 p.m. May 10.

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.



Mon, Apr 25, 2011 : 6:13 p.m.

Wrong on both counts Atticus. I'm not a Republican. I would however like to end this practice of having our elections decided by a very small cabal of Dem politicos, private special interests and and a few Dem primary voters. All your second observation tells me is that you seem to have a very narrow base of friends for someone living in a politically diverse place like AA. You should try and get out more.

Atticus F.

Mon, Apr 25, 2011 : 1:29 p.m.

I happen to live in the 3rd ward, and I can tell you that I fully support Steve Kunselman, as do all of my friends and family that live in that ward.


Sun, Apr 24, 2011 : 12:25 a.m.

You can have anyone you want as a council rep; as long as they're a Democrat.

Atticus F.

Mon, Apr 25, 2011 : 1:32 p.m.

Maybe we could go against the will of the voters and make a law saying that a republican has to hold a seat. I'm sure drowning out the everybody elses vote in favor of what you want, would suit you just fine.


Sat, Apr 23, 2011 : 8:42 p.m.

Changing from April elections to November has resulted in less political competetion. A small number of voters elect a primary winner who is unchallenged in November. In even number years the local issues are drowned out by state and national politics. One party rule has resulted in political stagnation and uninspired leadership. Whoever wins in August will make little difference.


Sun, Apr 24, 2011 : 12:30 a.m.

Remember this blast from the past? VINE = Voting In November Is Easy! The concept was the brainchild of a local "Attorney and Democratic Activist". Nothing says diversity like being a one party town. You can have any flavor you want. As long as it's vanilla.


Sat, Apr 23, 2011 : 6:07 p.m.

I would love to see Higgins properly booted out of office! :) She has to be one of the worst on council


Sat, Apr 23, 2011 : 8:35 p.m.

She is indeed far from satisfactory. But two attempts at unseating the incumbent council members in Ward 4 have failed. Why?


Sat, Apr 23, 2011 : 8:16 p.m.

she still is far from satisfactory


Sat, Apr 23, 2011 : 8:10 p.m.

As noted above, if Jack Eaton could not best Magie Teal in last years primary, nobody could beat Marcia. And if somebody should decide to run against Marcia in the November election as an independent as Hatim Elhady did in the previous election, they will lose also.

Dog Guy

Sat, Apr 23, 2011 : 12:26 p.m.

Are council challengers paid or is it a barter thing?

rusty shackelford

Sat, Apr 23, 2011 : 12:36 a.m.

Also, no one under 50 has a shot at winning anything in Ann Arbor.

say it plain

Sat, Apr 23, 2011 : 2:51 p.m.

Isn't Carsten Hoenke under 50? Different vibe than that Newcombe Clark dude, not spewing forth "young robber baron" rhethoric lol, but still...

rusty shackelford

Sat, Apr 23, 2011 : 12:34 a.m.

No one with an Arab name has a shot at winning Ward 3. It sucks that people are prejudiced, but given the demographics of that ward that's just a fact.


Sat, Apr 23, 2011 : 2:15 a.m.

I don't think it's an Arab name, but Ann Arborites probably won't know that.


Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 11:48 p.m.

Marwan Issa's family are immigrants from Ramallah, Palestine. They own several businesses locally including the Ahmos Restaurant as well as a hair salon in Pittsfield Township. Issa has a shot at winning if a third candidate, like Luanne Bullington decides to run.


Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 11:40 p.m.

Kunselman has shown more than once in the last several years that he can run a good ward campaign, which would make him a rather strong favorite in a one-on-one campaign against a political newcomer. Issa, however, could well play the role of a wild-card spoiler in the event that a strong third candidate enters the 3rd Ward primary later on. If he runs as a business Democrat friendly to downtown development, he would draw votes away from anyone who attempts to run against Kunselman as a clone of Leigh Greden (without the email-gate baggage, of course). But if -- like Luann Bullington two years ago -- he chooses to run with the support of the Sierra Club and some neighborhood activists, voicing their talking points, the situation in a three-way race would then become reversed. Issa may well inflict serious damage to Kunselman's reelection chances, allowing a developer candidate to win via a plurality, as Greden very nearly did in 2009, despite email-gate.


Sat, Apr 23, 2011 : 8:30 p.m.

The Mayor's background before entering local politics was Real Estate. Who do you think he will support? He is the only politician in Ann Arbor who knows what is going on. The rest are in the dark. The right hand does not know what the left hand is doing.


Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 11:52 p.m.

Members of the Issa family have been heavy contributors to Mayor Hieftje's past mayoral re-election campaigns. It will be interesting who the Mayor will endorse, if anyone, in this race.


Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 11:40 p.m.

Anyone running against Marcia Higgins?


Sat, Apr 23, 2011 : 8:03 p.m.

Nobody will take on Marcia in Ward 4 for the primary. If Jack Eaton could not convince voters to vote for him instead of Margie Teall, nobody stands a chance against Marcia.


Sat, Apr 23, 2011 : 6:08 p.m.

Gods I hope so..............