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Here’s who Ann Arbor-area officials are backing in the presidential race

MLive Ann Arbor logo MLive Ann Arbor 2/28/2020 By Ryan Stanton and McKenna Ross, mlive.com
Peter Buttigieg wearing a suit and tie: From left, Democratic presidential candidates former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, watches as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., talk before a Democratic presidential primary debate at the Gaillard Center, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, in Charleston, S.C., co-hosted by CBS News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute. © AP Photo/Patrick Semansky/mlive.com/TNS From left, Democratic presidential candidates former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, watches as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., talk before a Democratic presidential primary debate at the Gaillard Center, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, in Charleston, S.C., co-hosted by CBS News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute.

ANN ARBOR, MI — With Michigan’s presidential primary drawing closer, local officials are declaring who they want to take on Donald Trump in November.

Peter Buttigieg, Joe Biden, Tom Steyer standing in front of a crowd posing for the camera: From left, Democratic presidential candidates, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and businessman Tom Steyer, participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate at the Gaillard Center, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, in Charleston, S.C., co-hosted by CBS News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute. © AP Photo/Patrick Semansky/mlive.com/TNS From left, Democratic presidential candidates, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and businessman Tom Steyer, participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate at the Gaillard Center, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, in Charleston, S.C., co-hosted by CBS News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute.

Several Ann Arbor-area officials are rallying around U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts.

Others are backing U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, or Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

No local officials surveyed by The Ann Arbor News/MLive said they’re supporting any other candidates, such as Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar or Michael Bloomberg.

Here’s a quick look at who’s backing whom in the state’s March 10 Democratic primary.

Elizabeth Warren

In Ann Arbor, Warren has support from Mayor Christopher Taylor and six other City Council members: Zachary Ackerman, Jack Eaton, Julie Grand, Kathy Griswold, Elizabeth Nelson and Chip Smith.

Peter Buttigieg wearing a suit and tie: Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg speaks at a campaign rally late Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in Denver. © AP Photo/David Zalubowski/mlive.com/TNS Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg speaks at a campaign rally late Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in Denver.

“I support Senator Warren because of her intellect and moral clarity, her wit and her grit,” Taylor said. “She has what it takes to unify Democrats, beat Trump, lead systemic change and restore honor to government.”

Smith, D-5th Ward, said he’s launching a canvass for Warren this weekend.

“I endorsed because she's a doer, not a talker,” he said. “She has the best plans with the best shot at executing the plans. And she's a fighter.”

Bernie Sanders et al. in front of a crowd: Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders speaks during a Bernie Sanders rally with U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib at Cass Technical High School in Detroit on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019. © Mary Lewandowski | MLive/Mary Lewandowski| MLive.com/mlive.com/TNS Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders speaks during a Bernie Sanders rally with U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib at Cass Technical High School in Detroit on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019.

Ackerman, D-3rd Ward, said the next president needs to be the nation’s most ethical and qualified leader yet.

“Having spent my career working to better my hometown and lead a small business, I trust Elizabeth Warren's plans for our economy will make our communities thrive and small businesses prosper,” he said.

Nelson, D-4th Ward, said she appreciates Warren’s grasp of economic issues and her willingness to directly address issues of fairness.

“I believe she is the ethical, stable, intelligent leader we need right now,” she said.

Eaton, D-4th Ward, said he endorsed Warren a long time ago.

“Not only would she be the best candidate to run against Trump, but I think that she would be the best president when she wins,” he said. “She’s able to work with a broad array of views. Watching her in the Senate, I’ve been impressed.”

Washtenaw County Board Chairman Jason Morgan, D-Ann Arbor, and County Commissioners Katie Scott, D-Ann Arbor, and Sue Shink, D-Northfield Township, also are backing Warren, as is Ypsilanti City Council Member Annie Somerville.

“I support Elizabeth Warren because I believe she is best prepared to create bold, structural change to improve the lives of all Michiganders," Morgan said. “She has a positive progressive vision for the future of America and a plan to make it happen.”

Scott said she’s admired Warren for a long time. She views her as an influential leader in the likes of British politician Harriet Harman and Frances Perkins, the first female member of the U.S. cabinet under President Franklin Roosevelt.

“I like the evolution of her political thought and, quite frankly, that she really does have a true plan for so many issues, especially ones that impact Washtenaw County," Scott said. "Moreover, she really and truly understands that until people feel secure about being able to put dinner on the table, pay the rent, and afford healthcare, many other problems facing our country cannot be reasonably addressed or tackled.”

Somerville, who represents Ypsilanti’s 3rd ward, said Warren’s campaign is about policies to improve lives.

“(Warren) does the work and the research, she admits when she is wrong, and she acknowledges that you need to compromise and negotiate in order to enact the big, structural change that her campaign has been built on," she said.

State Rep. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor, and three members of the Ann Arbor school board also have endorsed Warren: President Bryan Johnson, Vice President Jessica Kelly and Trustee Jeff Gaynor.

Bernie Sanders

Sanders, who was the top choice for Ann Arbor voters in 2016 and led a recent Michigan poll, is the preferred choice of state Rep. Yousef Rabhi, D-Ann Arbor, and Ann Arbor City Council Members Jeff Hayner and Ali Ramlawi.

He also has the endorsement of the Michigan Daily, the University of Michigan student newspaper.

Ramlawi, D-5th Ward, said Sanders has been consistent with his political platform for decades, is the most trustworthy politician running for president and has the best chance at defeating Trump.

“For my whole life, Bernie Sanders has been a champion of the American experiment,” Ramlawi said in an endorsement statement released by the Sanders campaign.

“His national policies speak to me and represent our best (and perhaps last) opportunity to address critical issues that communities like Ann Arbor are dealing with – affordable housing, mass transit, climate change, clean water, and clean air. We need a national champion we can trust and believe. For me, that is Bernie Sanders.”

Hayner said he supports Sanders because he’s honest, consistent in his calls for social, economic and environmental justice, empathetic to the working class and has broad support from Democrats and independent thinkers alike.

“Honesty, integrity and lack of hypocrisy are paramount in choosing who I want to represent me, and Bernie Sanders exemplifies this,” said Hayner, D-1st Ward.

The Sanders campaign also released an endorsement statement from Rabhi, citing Sanders’ record of “putting the people of this country over corporate interests.”

“His commitment to social justice and global solidarity with worker movements is the gold standard of what I expect out of a public servant,” Rabhi said.

“In an environment with constant pressure to abandon our core values for electoral expediency, I appreciate that he has been an unflinching advocate for what is right regardless of the political consequences.”

Pete Buttigieg

Ypsilanti Mayor Beth Bashert said she’s excited about Buttigieg’s unifying message.

“In these times of extremes — extreme statements, extreme goals, extreme actions — Mayor Pete is a breath of fresh air,” Bashert said. “His vision of results-oriented change, combined with embracing dialogue across the board, is vitally needed.”

Undecided or undeclared

State Sen. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, said he’s not endorsing any candidates in the primary, but he appreciates both Warren and Sanders.

“I vote on issues and ideas and I think Warren and Sanders have the best ideas,” he said.

Ann Arbor City Council Member Anne Bannister, D-1st Ward, said she’s trying to decide between Warren and Sanders, while Council Member Jane Lumm, I-2nd Ward, said she’ll wait to see who the candidates are in November.

Other local officials who declined to endorse a candidate include Ypsilanti Mayor Pro Tem Lois Richardson, County Commissioners Andy LaBarre, D-Ann Arbor, and Shannon Beeman, D-Manchester, and U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, whose district includes Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.

Two other state representatives from Washtenaw County — Donna Lasinski and Ronnie Peterson — did not respond to requests for comment.

U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, a Republican from Tipton whose district includes parts of Washtenaw County, is endorsing Trump.

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