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Home News  Wood leads the field, setting stage for 4th term
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Wednesday, August 3,2011

Wood leads the field, setting stage for 4th term

by Kyle Melinn

Lansing voters didn’t want her as mayor.
The person who did beat her — Virg Bernero — can’t stand to be in the
same elevator as her.


Yet, when it comes to being on the City
Council, Carol Wood is unbeatable. The three-term councilwoman proved it
again Tuesday night, steamrolling a decent field of opponents with 55
percent of the vote in the At-Large race. 


Her fellow incumbent, Derrick Quinney, a fellow darling of organized labor, finished with 44 percent of the vote. 


The two candidates preferred by the
Lansing Chamber of Commerce — Rory Neuner and Tom Stewart — received
votes from 35 and 26 percent. Combined, however, their vote total was
only 445 more than Wood’s.


John Krohn, who owns the local Lower
Peninsula Recordings label, finished fifth in the five-person race with
16 percent of the vote and will not advance to the Nov. 8 General
Election.


Two of the remaining four will win four-year terms on the council starting Jan. 1.


Meanwhile, in the 1st Ward, former state
Rep. Lynne Martinez and Jody Washington, the vice president of the
Eastside Neighborhood Organization, rolled to a General Election
showdown by more than doubling up their closest opponents.


Martinez’s 693 votes was 57 votes better than Washington’s 636.


Former 1st Ward Councilman Harold Leeman
watched his political career swirl down the drain as he lost his third
straight election in convincing fashion. His 295 votes was only eight
better than young political neophyte Joe Manzella’s vote total.


But the big news from Tuesday night’s
results was the convincing fashion by which Wood won. Since taking
office, Wood has won favor in many of the neighborhoods by taking a
full-time approach to her position.


She’s paid $20,000 a year, but she acts
like she’s being paid $200,000. She thrives on the potholes, the
burned-out streetlamps, the trash pickup and all of the other gripes
that would make a weaker soul tear her ears out.


Put in a call and Wood is on the case.
The numbers Tuesday showed that. Wood dominated among absentee voters —
by and large the city’s older voters or those with special needs.


Among the absentee voters in the 3rd
Ward, she gathered votes from 67.5 percent of those casting ballots.
Wood may have only won three of 10 precincts in the 1st Ward and two
precincts in the 4th Ward, but she won votes from 63 percent and 61
percent of those casting absentee ballots in both wards, respectively.


For Neuner and Stewart, the results were
deflating. Young progressives have targeted Wood as a roadblock to
moving Lansing forward, yet Wood didn’t do much worse than she did in
August 2007.


Four years ago, Wood received 4,864 with
only two other candidates seriously campaigning. This go-around, all
five candidates had some presence and Wood finished with 4,276 votes.


Quinney is getting stronger. He took 3,407 votes Tuesday, which was 411 votes better than his ’07 primary total.


This leaves Neuner and Stewart with few,
if any, roads to victory. Even if one were to drop out of the General in
deference to the other, voters will still have two votes in November,
and it’s doubtful the survivor would benefit with a Council seat.


The two can knock doors every day from
now until Nov. 8, but voters appear to have made their minds made up.
They know Wood, and they like the job she does.


The voters are speaking loud and clear.
Wood will get a fourth, four-year term on the Council, barring the
highly unlikely chance she gets wrapped into some scandal.


Over in the 1st Ward, the upcoming race
between Martinez and Washington is anything but clear-cut considering
both advanced to the General on completely different paths.


Martinez took first with her myriad
connections and strong name ID while Washington advanced to the November
run-off with the help of organized labor and a lot of elbow grease.


Few knew Washington from Eve when she
filed for the 1st Ward. She changed that quickly by proving how
important door-to-door work truly is. She made herself visible in the
public and well-versed on the issues. Moreover, she won the support of
labor.


Martinez is a politician. She’s been in
the state Legislature. She ran for mayor and served in the state
bureaucracy. Washington’s big talking point is that she’s not a
politician or an “insider.”


The race has the makings to be another
installment of the familiar Virg v. Carol battle with Martinez winning
favor from the pro-Bernero crowd and the anti-administration/pro-labor
sentiment falling for Washington.


The 3rd Ward race between incumbent A’Lynne Robinson and Jason Wilkes is already falling along those lines.


Both of these match-ups likely will remain in doubt until Election Day.


In at least one of the two at-large seats, Wood erased the drama Tuesday. She’s not going anywhere.


Kyle Melinn is the editor of the MIRS Newsletter. He can be reached at melinn@lansingcitypulse.com.

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