Councilman upsets political mainstay for mayor’s post

Sunday Times Newspapers

TAYLOR — One-term City Councilman Jeffrey Lamarand ousted incumbent Mayor Cameron Priebe in Tuesday’s election, pulling off one of the biggest upsets in recent Downriver politics.

Lamarand captured 5,596 votes to Priebe’s 4,448. About 23.4 percent of the city’s 43,443 registered voters turned out.

“I’m very surprised,” Priebe said Wednesday. “I thought we would win by about the same margin we ended up losing by.”

He cited a “certain amount of voter disenfranchisement” because of lost jobs and lost employment, saying some voters may have been “mad at life and mad at politics.”

Priebe said a recent statewide poll taken by the Michigan Democratic Party showed a 65 percent dissatisfaction rate with incumbent politicians, and that he and his campaign team projected that rate at about 30 percent within Taylor.

“The people have spoken,” Priebe said. “I guess they just wanted a change.”

Lamarand was elected to the council in 2005, the same year Priebe was elected eight years after his last stint as mayor, which lasted from 1981 to 1997.

Priebe said he and his staff are preparing some files that the new administration may want to consider, and after testifying at a Lansing hearing for the proposed Wayne County Aerotropolis project Wednesday, he likely would be packing up his office in time for the transfer of power tomorrow.

Because Tuesday’s outcome was a surprise, Priebe said he hasn’t thought much about his future plans.

“Unfortunately, I don’t get three pensions like has been reported, and I still have to find a job,” he said.

Lamarand did not return a telephone call seeking comment for this story as of press time.

In other city races, incumbent Clerk Mary Ann Rilley beat out challenger Erin Dobbins 5,413 votes to 4,152. Treasurer Wayne Avery was unchallenged and received 7,700 votes.

On the City Council, incumbents re-elected included Jill Brandana with 5,174 votes, Jacklyn Molner (4,579), Herman Ramik (4,585) Dennis Stapleton (3,772) and Suzanne Weycker (3,931). Former Councilman John Delo returns to the body with 4,110 votes and is joined by newcomer Cheryl Burke, the top vote-getter with 5,704.

Incumbent Rick Sollars finished out of the running with 3,595 votes, as did Francis Canning (2,878)
Rick Flood (3,280), Jennifer Lane (3,039), Edward Mulka (2,960), Douglas Reimel (3,139) and Timothy Witz (3,466).

On the Taylor Public Schools Board of Education, incumbents Mary Moore Linda Newsome retained their four-year seats with 4,832 and 4,862 votes, respectively. Jeremy Waechter finished out of the running with 4,128 votes.