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 A voting sign is illuminated at Clawson High School Tuesday, Nov. 5. Unofficial election results from all five voting precincts in Clawson were in by 9 p.m. Polls were open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

A voting sign is illuminated at Clawson High School Tuesday, Nov. 5. Unofficial election results from all five voting precincts in Clawson were in by 9 p.m. Polls were open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Photo by Sarah Wojcik

Clawson gets a new mayor, 2 new council members

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published November 5, 2019


CLAWSON — Clawson Mayor Deborah Wooley will soon end her term and be replaced by Reese Scripture, a resident who sued the city for allegedly violating the Open Meetings Act.

According to unofficial election results released by the Oakland County Elections Division Nov. 5, Scripture clinched the mayoral seat with 61.33% support — or 1,345 votes — to Wooley’s 38.48% — or 844 votes.

Mayor Pro Tem Matt Ulbrich, whose term expired Nov. 11, opted not to run for reelection. Voters elected nonincumbents Kathy Phillips and Louis J. Samson to the two open seats at the table, with 39.37% and 26.04% of the votes cast — 1,568 votes and 1,037 votes, respectively.

Incumbent City Councilman Howie Airriess received 25.86% — or 1,030 votes — and Jeff Gaglio received 8.59% — or 342 votes.

Gaglio told the Royal Oak Review that he chose to withdraw from the race after the withdrawal deadline, so his name had remained on the Nov. 5 ballot.

After the race, Airriess said he had mixed feelings about not being reelected. He said he was glad for his 12 years on the City Council, but that he did not put much effort into his campaign this year. He said he was on board with the voters’ choice and that it came somewhat as a relief.

“I haven’t had a chance to sit back and relax,” he said, but added that he will continue to organize the annual Clawson car show in the summer.

Phillips said she was excited to see that residents supported her with nearly 40% of the vote. She said her main concern was feedback from residents who were disappointed with the city.

“I was on the council for eight years previous. That’s kind of what made me jump back in,” Phillips said. “Everything that had been done had been undone, and it was just killing me to watch everything fall apart that everybody had previously worked so hard for.”

Samson said he was honored to be elected to the City Council and that he would work hard for the residents to represent Clawson in the best possible way.

The candidates, except for Gaglio and Samson, attended a Sept. 30 candidate forum facilitated by the League of Women Voters. Samson told the Royal Oak Review that he was in Europe on vacation at the time of the forum.

During the forum, Scripture said that she ran for mayor because she doesn’t agree with the current City Council and is not happy with its performance. She said she felt transparency is a major issue in Clawson and that she could do a better job.

“I am suing City Council for violating the Open Meetings Act multiple times that I had evidence of, and after asking multiple times and pointing out some of the issues and being ignored, I finally took the step of taking it to the next level,” Scripture said during the forum. “I’m running for transparency.”

Phillips also said she is “absolutely 100% for transparency.” Phillips is a former Clawson City Council member who opted not to run for reelection in 2015 because her daughter was a senior in high school and she wanted to be more available.

Candidates wrote the following information in questionnaires returned to the Royal Oak Review: Scripture is a tax auditor who has lived in Clawson for seven years. Phillips is an associate broker/Realtor who has lived in Clawson for more than 39 years. Samson is a microwave/cellular engineer who has lived in Clawson for 45 years. 

Oakland County Commissioner Penny Luebs, who formerly served as mayor of Clawson and now represents Clawson and portions of Troy and Royal Oak, cast her ballot at Royal Oak High School shortly before 7 p.m. Nov. 5, after spending a couple of hours at the polls in Troy.

“I have three signs in my yard: Deb Wooley, Howie Airriess and Lou Samson,” she said. “Voting is a right and we should take advantage of it. Women have had the vote for 100 years. We should use that. If you don’t like the way things are going, you have the right to change it.”

Results from all five voting precincts in Clawson were in by 9 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5. Polls were open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The terms of Councilwomen Paula Millan and Susan Moffitt expire Nov. 8, 2021.

To view more election results from Oakland County, visit

Call Staff Writer Sarah Wojcik at (586) 218-5006.