This year, reenergized Republicans are running candidates in all nine county commission districts. Do they really expect to win? "Yes, I do believe so," replies local party chairman John Taylor, "though we have some tough races ahead of us, to say the least."
Ann Arbor's three districts will be among the toughest. Their candidate in east-side District Seven, Dave Parker, got just 21 percent of the vote when he ran for city council last year. Parker says he's trying again "to offer people choices. Ann Arbor is diverse in a lot of ways but not politically."
Democrat Andy LaBarre says he wants to "reform the way we budget for human services. We don't need more, but we would be better off as a community if we had more. [But] we need to do a better job budgeting for them."
The race in District Eight, downtown, campus, and points south, will be just as difficult for the Republican. Joe Baublis ran here two years ago, and got just 24 percent of the vote. In an email Baublis predicts that "over the next few years it will become increasingly apparent to the county residents that their commissioners have not been representing their interests but rather the interests of the government."