Yet this year, the party is fielding candidates for four of the five countywide offices, all nine county commission seats, and for a city council seat in Ann Arbor. That's the highest total of candidates in the past ten years, and all but one is actively campaigning.
The exception is Jeff Gallatin. Though listed on the ballot as a candidate for sheriff, Gallatin has no website and declines to reply to questions. While that makes it hard to know why the local landlord wants to be sheriff, it makes it easy to guess that incumbent Jerry Clayton will win a second four-year term.
"The Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office has made tremendous improvement in terms of community leadership, building and sustaining the strong partnerships necessary to create a community environment of enhanced public safety, and improved quality of life," emails Clayton. "I hope that all the voters in Washtenaw County will vote for me regardless of political party affiliation because they believe I have done a good job as sheriff."
No recent challenger for mayor of Ann Arbor has gotten more than 30 percent of the vote. No one expects that to change in 2012.