Pro-equality candidates win in most races
A majority of pro-equality candidates won Nov. 8 in local races across the state. Of the 19 candidates endorsed by Equality Michigan Pride PAC, 13 won their elections.
In Holland, pro-equality former public school teacher Wayne Klomparens won by just 18 votes, calling the tight race winning by “a whisker.” His election secures four solid supporters of Holland’s non-discrimination ordinance will be returning to the council. The ordinance lost by a council vote of 5-4 earlier this year.
“We did really well,” said Amy Hunter, president of Equality Michigan Pride PAC, from her home in Kalamazoo. “If there is a trend there, it is that people don’t look upon pro-equality and openly gay candidates as a negative anymore. Even when there was public push back on openly gay and supportive candidates it didn’t seem to effect their margins.”
Hunter explained that Jim Carruthers reelection to the Traverse City City Council and the two city council members reelected in Ferndale, Mike Lennon and Dan Martin, were each targeted because of their pro-equality stances. “People definitely voted pro-equality in those races,” said Hunter.
In one of the few upsets in the Nov. 8 results, Democrat Marian McClellan beat the Republican incumbent Mayor of Oak Park.
“What we were really watching was the Oak Park mayoral race,” said Hunter. “I got some push back because of our endorsement of a new candidate, but the PAC endorsed her because her stance on equality issues she was so excellent. I’m hoping to see her move Oak Park forward in this traditionally conservative area.”
Here is a list of the Equality Michigan Pride PAC endorsees winners and losers from the elections Nov. 8:
Dave Coulter, Ferndale Mayor
Jim Carruthers, Traverse City City Commission
Stephanie Bell, Kalamazoo City Commission
Don Cooney, Kalamazoo City Commission
David Anderson, Kalamazoo City Commission
Bobby Hopewell, Kalamazoo City Commission
Robert Cinabro, Kalamazoo City Commission
Nathan Triplett, East Lansing City Council
Mike Lennon, Ferndale City Council
Dan Martin, Ferndale City Council
Marian McClellan, Oak Park Mayor
Kyle DuBuc, Royal Oak City Commission
Scott Craig, Northville Public Schools Board of Education
Nicholas Wikar, Kalamazoo City Commission
Lynne Martinez, Lansing City Council 1st Ward
Rory Neuner, Lansing City Council At-Large
Steve Manchester, Lansing School Board
Charles Kellet, Pleasant Ridge City Commission
Stephan Rapundalo, Ann Arbor City Council 2nd Ward
Traverse City voters approve non-discrimination ordinance by two-to-one margin
Traverse City voters overwhelmingly approved a measure to affirm the city’s inclusive non-discrimination ordinance Nov. 8. The ordinance, which includes protections for LGBT citizens, was passed last year by the city council. An anti-ordinance movement had put a measure on the ballot to repeal the ordinance. Voters confirmed the ordinance by nearly a two-to-one margin, voting 2,818 to 1,661.
“The fact is that I was even more interested in getting a yes vote on the ordinance than having me reelected,” said Jim Carruthers, City Commissioner who was reelected for a second four-year term. Carruthers said that having the ordinance on the same ballot probably helped his reelection campaign. “It helped me. Barb Budros and I were up for reelection and we both were the top vote getters, and she was a supporter of the ordinance too. We had the support of the citizenry. We raised over $25,000 for the campaign, mostly from our straight allies.”
“I am really personally thrilled that we had such a large voter turnout and that the non-discrimination ordinance was upheld by such a tremendously large margin,” said Denise Brogan-Kator, executive director of Equality Michigan. “That means to mean that the citizens of Michigan want ordinances like this one, and the legislators in Lansing should sit up and take notice when they are considering HB5039 that would invalid ordinances like this one that was just reaffirmed by the voters.”
“This is a wonderful victory. Traverse City voters have defended fairness and taken a strong stand for all families,” said Diana Ketola, steering committee member for Traverse City Equality and chair of the local Democratic Party committee, the campaign group supporting the ordinance.
Carruthers said that this should end the fight in Traverse City over the ordinance, once and for all. But he is concerned that the anti-equality activists are going to keep pushing.
“My concern is that Paul Napolti can’t accept this,” said Carruthers, referring to the leader of the anti-ordinance group. “He has been attacking the school board about an anti-bullying policy that they passed last year, and he plans to keep going at the school board.”
Gay candidates win reelection
Jim Carruthers won reelection to his seat on the Traverse City City Council last night, and David Coulter easily won his first mayoral election in Ferndale after last year’s job-swap with current Oakland County Commissioner Craig Covey. Coulter defeated Raymond Willis with 84 percent of the vote.
Carruthers, Coulter and Covey are all openly gay.
Carruthers was heavily targeted by anti-gay activists, led by Paul Napolti, because Carruthers is gay and for his support of the city’s inclusive non-discrimination ordinance.
“I really glad I’m on the city council,” said Carruthers. “I think we are doing a great job and I’m glad I’m there.”