So, my fellow Ypsilantians, how are you planning to vote in this Tuesday’s Democratic primary?

I know not everyone who reads this site is a Democrat living in my precinct, but here’s my sample ballot for this Tuesday’s Democratic primary. While a few things are clear to me, like who I’ll be casting my vote for to be our next State Senator (Jeff Irwin), I’ll confess that I’m still debating who I should support in a few of these races. Although things got a little less complicated on the local front, with the recent revelation about Adam Gainsley’s criminal record, and his subsequent withdrawal from the City Council race, I’ve still not made up my mind as to who I should support for either State Rep and County Commissioner. And, all I’ve determined so far about the gubernatorial race is that I won’t be voting for Shri Thanedar. So, if you’ve got any thoughts on these contested local primaries, or whether I should vote for Abdul El-Sayed or Gretchen Whitmer for Governor, let me know. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

[If you live in Michigan, and want to see your sample ballot, you can do so here.]

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  1. John Brown
    Posted August 5, 2018 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    Abdul all the way! He’s got an amazing organization running on a fraction of the $ of Whitmer. And he’s inspiring a parallel organic grassroots that’s building the voter base big time. More D votes in the general with Abdul means flipping some seats in Congress that we may not get with the milquetoast approach.

  2. Demetrius
    Posted August 5, 2018 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Abdul seems like a smart and capable guy, but I have to ask: If he were to get the nomination, does anybody really think he has a chance of winning the general election – especially out-state, beyond southeast Michigan?

    I’m planning to vote for Whitmer, partly because she has the most experience dealing with the state legislature, but mostly because, when all is said and done, I think she is the most electable … and I can’t bear the idea of suffering through four years of Schuette or Calley (or God forbid, Colbeck).

  3. Posted August 5, 2018 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    I plan to knock doors for either El-Sayed or Whitmer. I’d be happy with either. And I hope I’m not alone. I’d like to think that, regardless of who we vote for in the primary, we can all rally around the candidate. This is just too important.

  4. Posted August 5, 2018 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    How about State Rep and County Commissioner.

  5. YpsiLiz
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 5:00 am | Permalink

    For county commissioner, it’s Jeffries. He’s been working hard in his first term. Farmer tried to withdraw from the race for family reasons but missed the cut off. Williams is dealing with legal issues. (These last two bits are from an article in the Sunday AA Snooze.)

    For state rep, I poked around on candidates’ websites and decided on Casey. I met him this weekend by chance and that confirmed my choice. He’s been active in the community on several levels, and he’s being mentored by Alma Wheeler Smith.

  6. Anonymous
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    What’s the consensus on how Ronnie Peterson has done in the job?

  7. Arika
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    I’ll be voting for Casey and for El-Sayed. If Whitmer gets the nomination, I’ll support her of course, but I feel like her platform is so underwhelming. She hasn’t come out fully for Medicare for All or $15 minimum wage. I feel like her message is essentially, “I will reinstate the liberal status quo if elected” and that just seems like a sad, limited vision. My 2 cents.

  8. Steve Pickard
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    I wish someone had had the ballz to primary Stabenow. They’d have my vote.

  9. Oliva
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Maybe seems just too slow, but, according to the Metro Times’s voter guide, “Whitmer is proposing raising the minimum wage to $15-per-hour over three years and repealing the state’s right-to-work law.”

  10. Posted August 6, 2018 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Abdul seems like a pretty interesting, smart, and charismatic guy, and if he gets the nomination, I’ll certainly support him. But he’s mostly “against” stuff and doesn’t have a lot in terms of a record of actually getting things done (this is my main problem with Sanders too), and I think he needs some experience in politics before running for governor. And honestly, I don’t think he has a chance outside of SE Michigan, and that’s not enough to win. So I’m going to vote for Whitmer, and I think she will make a great governor.

    But I think we can all agree that Shri is a bad choice.

  11. Lisa Bashert
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    I am planning to vote for Abdul el-Sayed. If you are interested in his positions check out I really resonate with all of the issues that he stands behind. But mostly, after I retired and decided to devote 50% of my time to resistance, I have been attending a lot of protests. And at these protests, I have met Abdul repeatedly. He comes out, he listens, he talks to people, and I’ve shaken his hand repeatedly. I feel like he knows and is involved in issues that I care about. As you said about Jeff Irwin, Abdul seems to be a regular kind of guy who is responsive and hears deeply what people have to say. I’ll be voting for him because of that responsiveness, his breadth of knowledge on issues, and because he isn’t taking corporate money for his campaign. The latter is very important to me. Another note: I have spoken about many candidates passionately in the past, but Abdul’s campaign is the first time I’ve ever made canvassing calls (not even for my spouse).

  12. Linda
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Anthony Morgan in the primary for city council
    And Desiree in the Nov election.!
    Ronnie Peterson for state rep. (Can you believe I am saying this) he is doing a great job as state rep. I am actually proud of him!
    Ricky for county commission, Gretchen for governor , I like Abdul but I don’t think he can beat a republican

  13. Concerned Michiganian
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    I will have a difficult time deciding which to vote for, Whitmer or El-Sayed. I very much like El-Sayed but I am concerned that he will not do well in rural Michigan, though it could be the case that Michigan residents are mature enough to not be concerned about a name.

    In any case, all other things being equal, El-Sayed has my full support.

  14. Linda
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Anonymous asked about Ronnie Peterson for state rep. I never supported Ronnie when he was a county commissioner, I actively campaigned against him. Something has changed about Ronnie and Ronnie is doing a great job as state rep, ..Better than almost anyone before him. I see him everywhere supporting and helping Ypsi. He seems to be tireless. He is knows the right committees to get on and I finally feel we have someone in our corner

  15. Gillian
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Our neighbor Elizabeth Gibbons is running as a write-in Precinct Delegate for ward 3-3.


  16. Gillian
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    It’s worth noting that Cheryl Farmer has also dropped out of the race for County Commissioner, or at least is not actively campaigning.

  17. M
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    If Whitmer wins, she’d be smart to offer Abdul the Lt. Gov. job.

  18. Bike666
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    El-Sayed and Deatrick for me.
    Michelle Deatrick record is pretty impressive. She was on staff for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign in Michigan as Special Projects Director.

  19. Greg Pratt
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    August 7 Dem Primary:

    Governor: Abdul El-Sayed

    US Rep 7th District: Steve Friday

    State Senator 18th district: Jeff Irwin for State Senate

    State Rep
    Dist 53: Yousef Rabhi
    Dist 54: Rod Casey
    Dist 55: Shauna McNally

    Wash County Dist 9 Commissioner: Katie Scott
    AAATA millage: YES

    A2 Mayor: Christopher Taylor

    Ward 1: Ron Ginyard*
    Ward 2: Kirk Westphal
    Ward 3: Julie Grand
    Ward 4: Graydon Krapohl
    Ward 5: Chuck Warpehoski

    Ypsi Mayor: ***

    Ypsi Council:
    Ward 1: Vote Gaines
    Ward 3: Anthony Morgan**

    *Ryan Hughes is running as an independent democratic socialist, I will be supporting him in November.
    **Similarly, Desirae Simmons is running as an independent, nonpartisan. I’ll support her in November.
    ***Will support Anne Brown for write-in in November.

    No endorsement in 12th Dist US Rep nor US Senator as those candidates have no challengers and though it’s too late, i think there are better candidates we should run next time.

    Nothing for Ward 2 Ypsi council. I do not know the issues for which the only candidate running is advocating.

    Finally, even though Yousef Rabhi has no challenger for his seat, he is someone whose work I strongly support.

  20. iRobert
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    I’m going to vote for Abdul for governor. I’m choosing him primarily because he is the most dynamic individual among the Democrats. He is clearly a highly capable, highly energized, highly motivated person.

    I know people assume he will have a tougher time winning against Schuette than Whitmer would, but I’m actually thinking that may not be the case.

    First of all, Abdul being the candidate will result in a significant increase in turnout among a variety of demographic groups which otherwise would likely underperform.

    Also, I believe the Schuette campaign would have a unusually tricky challenge in running against Abdul. Attack ads are far more likely to backfire and anti-Muslim and anti-Arab expressions among GOP supporters will be difficult to contain. These would likely have a dampening affect on moderate conservative support, as well as a strong energizing affect on potential support for Abdul.

    Either candidate, Whitmer or Abdul would have a better than even chance of beating Schuette. The greatest risk is that the Democrats find some way to blow their advantage, or fail to take full advantage of the likely few mistakes the Republicans will make in this race.

  21. Someone from Outside the City
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Ronnie has really engaged in support of Ypsilanti and making good inroads in Lansing. He’s on fire and absolutely should be reelected.

    Ricky is doing a good job of connecting with people who weren’t aware of him in the past. Seems to be getting respect with the county commissioners, and I’d vote for him if I could.

  22. Posted August 6, 2018 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    I’m a Southeast Ann Arborite with a strong affinity for Ypsilanti. Fwiw, here is my rationale for supporting Christopher Taylor for Ann Arbor Mayor on Tuesday Aug 7:

  23. Amanda Smith
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    – Deatrick
    – Whitmer or El Sayed depending on how last minute polling is looking. (I would hate to vote Abdul if it meant any chance Shri could win the primary).
    – Jefferson (both other candidates are pretty much not running)
    – Morgan in Ward 3 if I lived in Ward 3 to help get Adam off the ballot for the sake of their family.
    – Peterson or Casey (Casey said he wants to eliminate the school debt!)

  24. Kira Berman
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    I am voting for Abdul El-Sayed. His campaign is positive and truly progressive on criminal justice, health care, education, water, and many other issues. If you wonder whether he can win the primary, note that Bernie did. If you wonder whether he can win the general, note that Obama won Michigan twice, by 17 and 12% margins. El-Sayed will motivate many non-voters to get to the polls, because he is not a status quo candidate. Dems always win on turnout and his grassroots campaign has integrity, really listens, and knows how to get out the vote. He is the only candidate, for example, who asked Michigan Native American tribes what issues were important, and he wrote policies based on their feedback. He understands that our politics are broken and knows how to change the game.

  25. Ypsidoodledandy
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    I suspect Thanedar will get enough votes out of Ann Arbor (the Ann Arbor Dems who supported Snyder twice) that Abdul will not get close to Whitmer.

    I disagree with the comment above that Sanders and Abdul have no record of accomplishment–Sanders is well known in Congress for being a detail guy who gets lots of stuff done in the minutia of legislative process (which by the way is why I decided on Irwin over Anuja–he also has that reputation at the state level, and I don’t see them as very different on policy). Abdul also did a good job with the Detroit Health Department, as far as I know.

    I appear to have the same ballot you do, Mark–I’m confused about Gainsley tho–other than the single sentence in the A2 News, there is no indication on Gainsley’s campaign website or twitter that he has suspended his campaign, and a lot of voters have likely not caught the A2 article on his convictions (it was only front page on the News tab for about 12 hours). So if he wins the primary, what happens then?


  26. Lynne
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    I am voting for Whitmer. Mostly because of her experience. But fwiw there have been some elements of the El-Sayad campaign that have turned my stomach to a degree that it will be difficult for me to volunteer for his campaign or send him money if he wins the election. In particular I don’t like how he was attacking Whitmer on her donations (ie trying to suggest that individual donations from people employed by a company are the same as getting donations directly from the company. He is smart enough to both know the difference and to know that a certain segment doesn’t so much and will eat that kind of thing up. He also has been trying to portray Whitmer as a centrist! She is not. That kind of sleaziness in a primary does not sit well with me. I probably will end up getting behind him if he wins because the alternatives are so awful but right now I am hoping I don’t have to. If he were to acknowledge and apologize for this though, because I otherwise think he is an excellent candidate, I would probably find it easy to let this go.

    I am voting for Jeff Irwin for State Senate. I think he has the legislative experience to be effective. His values align with my own. I have been very impressed with him when I have met him. I have to say though that his opponents are also fine candidates and I don’t think we can go wrong there. Well. Not sure about Miller but the other two seem pretty great.

    Ronnie Peterson for State Rep. He is just getting started and is going to be term limited out soon. I feel it is important to keep him in office so he can represent us most effectively. Otherwise I would vote for Toney just because I think maybe he could shake things up with his free hot dogs in Lansing. It was a hard choice for me actually but ultimately I guess I am giving an advantage to the incumbent in a go with what you know way.

    Gainsley certainly has made my 3rd ward city council choice easier! I was undecided. Now I am voting for Morgan.

    I am undecided about county commissioner but really appreciate the info provided here. I just have a little more research to undertake before tomorrow.

  27. Lynne
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    I will say this about El-Sayad though. I would not worry about his electability as a Muslim in the general election. I have seen him work rooms of white people in racist districts very effectively. He has a way of putting people at ease. I could see racists doing a “he is not like those other Muslims” thing as the check off his name in the voting booth.

  28. iRobert
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Actually, Ypsidoodledandy, polls suggest Whitmer and Thanedar have been losing a considerable amount of their earlier support to Abdul, and fast. Whitmer has lost as much as 15 percentage points or more to Abdul, from the 49% she had at her peak a few months ago. Thanedar has dropped so much, he essentially can only play spoiler now. His support is so soft, it’s making easy pickings for Abdul. This finish looks like it could be a lot closer between Whitmer and Abdul than most people were anticipating.

    What Democrats need to do is stop holding grudges against each other after primaries. It’s really been hurting them.

  29. LLou
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Abdul El-Sayed for Gov’n’r!

    Michelle Deatrick for State Senate! Irwin wouldn’t make me sad, but I’d rather it were Deatrick!

  30. LLou
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    P.S. Any of you concerned about Whitmer’s big support from Blue Cross?

  31. Concerned Michiganian
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    I think that the only people who will vote for Thanedar will be Republicans looking to spoil the Democratic vote.

  32. another mark
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    I’ll vote for Whitmer. I really like Abdul’s proposals and rhetoric, but I don’t have faith that he has the experience necessary to be successful. The most effective (from a conservative prospective) governor we’ve had was Engler, and he was only able to do that because of how well connected he was through both parties and the state bureaucracy. Whitmer has that same set of experience (if shorter because term limits suck), so I’m hopeful she could get things accomplished.

    Abdul, again, I like him, but he’s 33. Obama’s first 2 years went rougher than they should have due to his inexperience (he got better, congress got worse). Snyder got shockingly little done given Republicans hold both houses, I don’t understand how little news his ineffectiveness makes. So recent precedent suggests that experience matters, yes it can be overcome, but we need someone who can hit the ground running. Hopefully we’ll be redistricting before 2020, so we’ll need a good arm twister to have the districts ready in time.

  33. another mark
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Also, I’d be fine with Abdul, state level experience is just my decision making factor here

  34. Anon
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    For state rep, Roderick Casey. He is a strong advocate for criminal justice reform. He also is often attending community events and listening to the needs of Ypsi-area residents. Ronnie Peterson is still tainted in my eyes by the abuse and sexual coercion against vulnerable female renters by his “volunteer” employee.

    For county commissioner, Ricky Jefferson. He is a strong advocate for Ypsilanti’s residents. Cheryl Farmer has basically withdrawn and his other opponent done almost nothing to show why she should be commissioner.

  35. Natalie Holbrook
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Hey Mark,
    I realize that I’ve said it a lot in support of Abdul on the social media, etc…I’m going to say it again here, I support him fully in his run for governor.

    As someone who spends a decent amount of time in Lansing, I too have been concerned about experience. But, here’s the difference for me, Abdul is not just full of rhetoric as some folks have suggested. He has more than 250 pages of thoughtful policy positions. And, those policies have not just been developed in the regular ether of Lansingdom that the democratic machine (whatever rickety thing it might still be in MI) reproduces again and again. His policy people have spoken with folks on the ground to develop their ideas. And, as someone who has dedicated my life to working on an unpopular and often politically destructive issue–criminal justice reform–I find it refreshing that Abdul has developed a platform around CJ reform issues before being elected to an office (which is when most folks who want to actually tackle the behemoth problem of the carceral state begin tackling it–once in office, not before. Unless of course people run on tough on crime rhetoric that is ages old and racist in nature–read Schuette).

    See CJ platform:

    His policy people conferred with folks on the ground–people who have come out of prison and jail; people trying to change the system; people directly impacted. His policies are informed by the people and not by some disconnected policy wonks. I love me some policy wonks, but it all gets tiring and I want something better than the same old BS. In addition, Abdul is smart enough to surround himself with people who do have the direct experience of navigating the mess of Lansing.

    I support Jeff Irwin completely as his policy positions are also informed by the people he represents and he asks some of the best questions in committee hearings of any politician I have ever seen in action. He is smart and compassionate and he will go to work for my family and friends to make our community a better, more equitable place. He cares about the inequity in our public schools, particularly YCS, and will tackle the issues that cause these inequities at the state level.

    I am voting for Rod Casey. Rod is thoughtful, kind and hard-working. He cares about criminal justice reform and police accountability. He always shows up and he listens deeply to people on the ground.

    Ronnie Peterson might be a little more present on CJ issues than anyone since Alma, but Ronnie’s connection to the insidious sexual harassment of women is problematic–unless he were to own it completely and go through accountability processes to heal the wrong that was done (which to my knowledge has not happened)–it is hard to move on from it. I do believe people change and can hold office after doing wrong in their communities, but accountability must be part of the movement toward healing and rebuilding integrity.

    Even without all that, I still am voting for Casey, cause he listens and shows up.

    One last thing, I love Abdul a shit ton. With that being said, I also think he has a better chance of beating Schuette in the general election. And, we HAVE to BEAT Schuette. I know everyone talks about him not being electable, but I spend too much time in spaces where people voted for trump and I know they WILL NOT vote for Whitmer because they are misogynists (or have misogynistic thinking patterns). I am scared shitless if Schuette becomes governor, and I will work my tail off for Whitmer should she get the nomination. I think Abdul can mobilize young voters, non-voters, and folks who stopped voting due to apathy and cynicism…. But, those are just my 2 cents.

    Also, I live in the township now, but FULLY support Anne Brown for Mayor and Desirae Simmons for 3rd ward in the general election!

  36. Concerned Michiganian
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    After years of Rick Snyder, I think that Michigan needs someone serious about public service, or at least someone other than a lawyer or business magnate at the helm.

  37. Donald Harrison
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Summary from the Ypsi Pre-Election Potluck I co-hosted, for what it’s worth (we researched and discussed all the races):

  38. John Brown
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Natalie, thanks for your support of Abdul. Your analysis of his thoughtful preparation is right on! He does his homework like nobody I’ve ever known. How else do you leave medical school after your second year at Michigan for a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford, then bang out a phd in Epidemiology (and a bonus MA) in 2 years, then immediately return to Med School, but this time at Columbia to successfully finish your last 2 yrs of your MD?

    He lives for challenging work. I hope nobody lets his youth deter them from voting Abdul.

  39. Anon
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Peterson has been an OK vote and not much else. Disappointed generally.

  40. Catherine Daligga
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    I’m supporting Whitmer for Governor and Irwin for State Senate.
    Whitmer is not the most charismatic speaker, and she plays some issues closer to the middle than I would like. But oh my am I weary of all-talk-little-action candidates. I don’t think El-Sayed has enough relevant experience to be a successful governor. Campaigning and serving in office draw upon two different skill sets, and I haven’t been all that impressed by his bona fides regarding the latter.
    He never did fully resolve the questions surrounding his claims of trying to vote in Detroit in 2016, even though his last previous registration in Michigan had been in Ann Arbor. It’s something that prospective candidates should take seriously, and he succeeded in diverting attention from the matter.
    As for the State Senate race, Irwin’s qualifications are superb. I have started to take offense at those who challenge my feminist chops for not supporting a woman simply to have a woman in this seat. Nope. Deatrick has 18 months in as County Commissioner. It’s not enough. And Rajendra doesn’t even have that much. I’m not taking Miller’s candidacy very seriously.
    I would also like to draw attention to this recent report by Ryan Stanton on the campaign funding reports for the State Senate races. They’re eye-opening.
    At this point, it seems like it would be a good idea for the expertise of politicians and public servants to be recognized and supported. We need people right now who actually know how the system works and don’t need to learn on the fly.
    I’ll support the winner of each primary, and I’ll hope for the best.
    Also, I’ll be supporting Anne Brown as a write-in candidate for mayor. She has excellent qualifications for the position and would be a good bridge-builder, something the city needs.

  41. Bob Krzewinski
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Careful… Rod Casey was endorsed by the Michigan anti-vaccination people – www. – and gladly accepted this anti-science groups endorsement.

  42. Posted August 6, 2018 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Thank you all for taking the time to write with your thoughts. I very much appreciate it, and I feel much better prepared to cast my vote tomorrow.

  43. iRobert
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    I’m writing in MAnon for precinct delegate.

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