Mayor Virg Bernero has his frustrations
with the Council, but voters gave the three incumbents running for
re-election Tuesday four more years.
Bernero’s arch-nemesis, Carol Wood, won
her fourth term by taking first in the At-Large race with 27 percent,
slightly better than incumbent Derrick Quinney, who won with 26 percent.
Both incumbents were endorsed by
organized labor and withstood negative campaigning by the Lansing
chamber and other interests hoping to elect “progressive” candidates
Rory Neuner and Tom Stewart. Neuner won 24 percent, Stewart 22 percent.
Wood said the results validate her as
someone who listens and responds to constituents. Wood said she is not
a “rubberstamp” for Bernero, but also not the obstructionist she was
“The rhetoric and the robo calls that
was out there — the people saw through all of that and made sure I’m
still sitting on Council,” she said at Sir Pizza in Old Town.
Quinney, an AFL-CIO official, won his
second term despite “crap from the chamber” that questioned whether he
was a political ladder climber and a shill for medical marijuana
interests, among other things. He took criticism for being a “no” vote
on some Bernero initiatives and then fired back against the mayor in
his own ads.
“The tactics were so out of bounds that
I was getting calls from people who were frustrated with them,” Quinney
said. “I think it worked against them.”
“I’ve told the mayor that there are
going to be some issues where we don’t agree,” he said. “I said that we
need to get past that and move on to the next thing. We need to look at
each issue by its individual merits.”
Neuner, the 31-year-old coordinator for
the Transportation for Michigan coalition, said that while she was
unsuccessful, she and Stewart received nearly a quarter of the vote
against a pair of incumbents, which is significant.
“I think there is an appetite for new leadership in this city,” she said. “That said, it is hard to beat an incumbent.”
Both Neuner and Stewart were first-time
candidates. Stewart, a relatively new resident in the Westside
neighborhood, is the founder and CEO of Common Wealth Enterprises.
In the 3rd Ward, incumbent and Council
President A’Lynne Robinson won her second term by defeating
union-backed Jason Wilkes 55 to 45 percent. Robinson won her first term
on the back of support from Wood, but she followed her own path in the
second two years of her term.
As a result, Wilkes was Wood’s candidate
in 2011. The first-time candidate even held his Election Night party
with Wood at Sir Pizza in Old Town.
Speaking from her home Tuesday night,
Robinson said she was loyal to those who helped her win her first
election, but after two years in office she conceded that she did vote
her mind from her own study of issues. Without fanfare, she did go her
Robinson said she didn’t take her first
four years in office for granted. She said she always engaged her
constituents, whether it was in the churches or other functions.
Wilkes said he was happy with the support that he did receive.
“Unfortunately for some, I’m not going away,” he said.