Lansing's At-Large City Council Race Heats Up

By: Shannon Kantner Email
By: Shannon Kantner Email

The primary is over, and now the real race for Lansing City Council's two at-large seats begins.

Two incumbents and two new-comers are facing off for the two spots.

One of those people is Olympic silver medalist Judi Brown Clarke, who would have liked to finish the primary in the top two, but just 50 votes got in the way.

"I'm pretty competitive, so I really wanted those 50 votes, but I feel great," Clarke said. "I'm in a fantastic position."

Clarke finished with the bronze in this one, just below incumbents Kathie Dunbar and Brian Jeffries, who came out on top. Ted O'Dell rounded out the four.

"This way we get to live and fight another day, and we're looking forward to it," O'Dell said.

All of the candidates say the real campaign starts now, even for the incumbents. Both Dunbar and Jeffries say they're not taking anything for granted and are focused on their own efforts, not their challengers.

"I run my campaign," Dunbar said. "I work the voters the way I talk with people. I don't worry about how anyone else is running their campaign."

The mayor is getting his message out to voters about the at-large seats, too, and it's crystal clear.

"If voters want growth and continued good things in the city of Lansing, then I ask that they vote for me, and give me the team that I need," Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero said.

Bernero said for him, that team includes Dunbar and Clarke, but not Jeffries.

"He is an obstacle to progress and nothing but," Bernero said. He went on to say a vote for Bernero and Jeffries is "a vote for gridlock" in the city.

Jeffries said all he's worried about are the voters.

"He certainly has his opinion, but at the end of the day, I'm here to answer to one group, and that's the voters of this city and the people that live here," Jeffries said.

At least one of his challengers wants to get to know those people better. Clarke said she's going to make the church and neighborhood organization circuit. While she might have the mayor's support, Clarke said she's an independent woman.

"What's in the best interest of Lansing? I'll always do my homework, I'll always look at the information," Clarke said.

Bernero said he plans to campaign hard for Dunbar and Clarke, as well as Jessica Yorko, the incumbent for the fourth ward seat.

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