With the ashes settled following the Tuesday, Aug. 7 primary election, the slate of candidates asking for west Oakland County residents’ votes in the Nov. 6 general election is now largely known, and a slew of local races are drawing the attention of local political gurus.
Both local Republicans and Democrats have their eyes closely affixed on the new 11th Congressional District race between Dr. Syed Taj, a Democrat serving on the Canton Township Board of Trustees, and Milford Republican Kerry Bentivolio, a Tea Party favorite who withstood a blistering television ad campaign from former GOP state Sen. Nancy Cassis of Novi, who ran in the Aug. 7 primary election as a write-in candidate at the behest of Oakland and Wayne county Republican powerbrokers.
Oakland County Republican Party Chairman Jim Thienel said he expects Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, county Sheriff Michael Bouchard and county Water Resources Commissioner John P. McCulloch to give Democrats “zero chance” in those elections.
Yet he admitted that state Rep. Lisa Brown (D-West Bloomfield, Commerce, Wolverine Lake) will put up a “very difficult race” against incumbent Oakland County Clerk/Register of Deeds Bill Bullard, Jr., a Highland Township Republican who was appointed to the position in 2011 following the election of Ruth Johnson as Michigan Secretary of State in 2010.
“But we’re going to beat (Brown),” he said. “Three (countywide elected official positions) will be very competitive and we’re really going to have to work,” but Republicans will win, he said.
He was referring to the race between incumbent county Treasurer Andy Meisner, a Democrat, and state Rep. Marty Knollenberg (R-Troy), who is term-limited; the race between incumbent Democratic county Prosecutor Jessica Cooper, who is squaring off with former state Senate majority leader Mike Bishop, a Rochester Republican; and the Brown vs. Bullard contest.
“We’re not going to take Mike Bishop or Marty Knollenberg for granted,” said Frank Houston, chairman of the Oakland County Democratic Party.
Thienel said he anticipates a 21-member county Board of Commissioners being easily dominated by 14 or 15 GOP county commissioners following the general election.
Houston said he expected Democrat Pam Jackson of Commerce Township to put up a strong fight in the 39th state House District. She’ll be running against Commerce Township Republican Klint Kesto to represent the district redrawn by the GOP.
“It’s one of those districts that were gerrymandered, but it’s not an unwinnable race,” Houston said.
He also pointed to the race for an Oakland County Circuit Court bench seat being vacated by Judge Edward Sosnick, who can’t seek re-election because of state age restrictions on judicial candidates, as a race that will be closely fought by attorneys Karen McDonald and Dan Christ.
What follows is a breakdown of the contested local races for elected office that will be decided by voters in less than three months.
11th Congressional District
(Waterford, West Bloomfield, White Lake, Commerce, Wolverine Lake, Walled Lake, Wixom, Milford, White Lake, Highland)
Taj and Bentivolio will square off in the Nov. 6 general election to represent the new 11th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Voters in this district will also decide on Nov. 6 who will serve the remaining term of former U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, who resigned last month following a petition signature flap that resulted in charges filed against four former staff members in his Livonia office last week. McCotter’s current term expires at the end of the year.
Republicans running in the Sept. 5 special primary election for the rest of McCotter’s unexpired term are Bentivolio; Cassis; and Kenneth Crider, Carolyn Kavanagh, and Steve King, all of Livonia. David A. Curson of Belleville is the lone Democrat who filed for the special primary election.
The winner of the Republican special primary election will take on Curson in the Nov. 6 special general election.
U.S. representatives serve two-year terms and are currently paid $174,000 annually.
14th Congressional District
(West Bloomfield, Orchard Lake)
After handily defeating a crowded Democratic field on Aug. 7, U.S. Rep. Gary Peters will take on Republican John Hauler in the general election.
29th State House District
Incumbent state Rep. Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills), elected earlier this year in a special election to replace former state Rep. Tim Melton, will be taking on Brian Stebick, a Republican from Pontiac.
Neither Greimel or Stebick were challenged in the Aug. 7 primary elections.
State representatives serve two-year terms and are currently paid $71,685 per year.
38th State House District
State Rep. Hugh Crawford (R-Walled Lake, Wixom) of Novi will face a challenger in Novi Democrat Chuck Tindall, a regular office-seeker in the lakes area over the past several election cycles.
Both Crawford and Tindall skirted through the primary elections without facing opposition from a member of their respective parties.
Crawford currently represents the 38th House District.
39th State House District
(Commerce, Wixom, Wolverine Lake, West Bloomfield)
After a crowded field of GOP candidates was narrowed down to just one in the Aug. 7 primary election, Kesto will square off against Jackson in the Nov. 6 general election.
40th State House District
Vying for the right to represent this district that covers the eastern portion of West Bloomfield, along with Birmingham and Bloomfield Township outside the west end of Oakland County, are Republican Michael McCready of Bloomfield Hills and Democrat Dorian Coston of West Bloomfield.
Although Coston was unopposed in the primary election, McCready staved off a trio of formidable challengers en route to a slim Aug. 7 GOP victory.
43rd State House District
After handily defeating a Republican challenger in the Aug. 7 primary election, incumbent state Rep. Gail Haines of Lake Angelus will face a challenge from Waterford Township Democrat Neil Billington, who had launched an unsuccessful recall effort against Haines last year.
Billington also challenged Haines in the 2010 Republican primary election, but was soundly defeated.
44th State House District
(White Lake, Waterford, Highland, Milford)
Coming off a convincing Aug. 7 Democratic primary election victory, Tom Crawford of Milford won the right to take on incumbent state Rep. Eileen Kowall of White Lake Township in the Nov. 6 general election.
Oakland County Executive
Incumbent Patterson cruised to the Republican nomination for Oakland County executive on Aug. 7, taking 90 percent of the GOP vote against a political newcomer from West Bloomfield. Patterson, a former county prosecutor, will be opposed by Democrat Kevin Howley of Huntington Woods on Nov. 6.
The Oakland County executive serves four-year terms and is currently paid $173,500 annually.
Oakland County Prosecutor
Neither incumbent Cooper, a Democrat from Franklin elected to the job in 2008, nor former state Senate majority leader Bishop faced opposition from within their respective parties in the primary elections.
Come Nov. 6, they will square off for the right to serve a four-year term as county prosecutor that pays $156,129 per year.
Oakland County Sheriff
Incumbent county Sheriff Bouchard, a former state lawmaker, easily fended off his Republican challenger in the Aug. 7 primary election. In less than three months, voters will head to the polls in the general election to choose either him or Democratic challenger Jane Felice-Boudreau of West Bloomfield, who ran for the sheriff’s position in 2008.
The Oakland County sheriff serves four-year terms and is currently paid $138,999 annually.
Oakland County Clerk/Register of Deeds
After being appointed to the clerk/register of deeds position in 2011 following the election of former county clerk Ruth Johnson as Michigan Secretary of State, Bullard, the former chairman of the county Board of Commissioners who previously served in both the state House and Senate, will face a Democratic challenger in state Rep. Brown.
Neither Bullard or Brown were challenged in the Aug. 7 primary elections.
The county clerk/register of deeds serves four-year terms and is currently paid $138,999 per year.
Oakland County Treasurer
Incumbent Treasurer Meisner, a Democrat first elected to the position in 2008, and state Rep. Knollenberg will face off in the Nov. 6 general election. Knollenberg, son of former U.S. Rep. Joe Knollenberg, is term-limited in the state House.
The county treasurer serves four-year terms and is currently paid $138,999 per year.
Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner
County Commissioner Jim Nash (D-Farmington Hills) defeated his Democratic opponent in the Aug. 7 primary election and has won the right to take on incumbent county Water Resources Commissioner John P. McCulloch, who was first elected to that job in 2000 after serving as the county board chairman.
The county water resources commissioner serves four-year terms and is currently paid $138,999 annually.
2nd Oakland County Board of Commissioners District
Incumbent Oakland County Commissioner Bob Hoffman (R-Highland) will face off with Democrat Sherlynn Everly of Holly in the Nov. 6 general election for a two-year term on the Board of Commissioners that pays $32,093 per year.
Hoffman, appointed to the county board following Bullard’s appointment as county clerk, won the right to serve the remainder of Bullard’s unexpired county commissioner term in a May 2011 special election.
4th Oakland County Board of Commissioners District
Incumbent Tom Middleton, a Republican from Clarkston, is looking for another two-year term on the county board after first being elected in 2002. Unchallenged in the Aug. 7 primary election, Middleton, a former state representative, will face Democrat Phillip Reid, also of Clarkston.
5th Oakland County Board of Commissioners District
(Orchard Lake, West Bloomfield, Waterford)
In one of the odder races in Oakland County, incumbent Republican Commissioner John Scott will compete against Democrat Alexandria T. Riley in the Nov. 6 general election — and an independent candidate also named John Scott.
Commissioner Scott, who is seeking a sixth term on the county board, and Riley were unchallenged in the Aug. 7 primary elections. Commissioner Scott will seek to have a term of designation — effectively meaning that it would state “incumbent” or “Commissioner” next to his name — on the Nov. 6 ballot.
7th Oakland County Board of Commissioners District
(Commerce, Walled Lake, Wolverine Lake, West Bloomfield)
Seeking a sixth term on the county Board of Commissioners, incumbent Christine Long (R-Commerce, Milford, Wolverine Lake) faces Democrat Paul Caradonna of Commerce Township in the Nov. 6 general election.
13th Oakland County Board of Commissioners District
Incumbent Marcia Gershenson, a Bloomfield Hills Democrat, is looking for her fifth term on the county Board of Commissioners in the Nov. 6 general election. Currently representing the 17th District, Gershenson will be challenged by Republican Al Zaparackas of Farmington Hills.
Oakland County Circuit Court — Non-incumbent Position
Attorneys Karen McDonald of Royal Oak and Dan Christ of Bloomfield won the right to square off against each other in the general election, after earning the two highest vote totals in the Aug. 7 primary election in a field of five candidates.
The winner will replace Oakland County Circuit Court Family Division Judge Edward Sosnick, who can’t run for re-election this year due to state age restrictions on judicial candidates.
Circuit Court judges serve six-year terms and are currently paid about $139,500 annually.
Oakland County Circuit Court — Incumbent Position
Five incumbent Circuit Court judges — Wendy Potts, Phyllis McMillen, Leo Bowman, Michael Warren and Denise Langford-Morris — are fighting to retain their bench seats against two challengers in assistant Michigan attorneys general Deborah Carley and William Rollstin.
Officials say it’s the first time in many years that seated Circuit Court judges have been challenged.
48th District Court
(West Bloomfield, Orchard Lake)
After a field of four candidates was winnowed to two in the Aug. 7 primary election, incumbent 48th District Court Judge Diane D’Agostini will be challenged by attorney Josh Arnkoff in the general election.
D’Agostini, who has served on the bench since 2000, and Arnkoff will fight for a six-year term that currently pays $138,722 annually.
51st District Court
Incumbent 51st District Court Judge Jodi Debbrecht, appointed to the bench by former Gov. Jennifer Granholm following McMillen’s appointment to the Oakland County Circuit Court bench, will face Waterford attorney Andrea Dean in the November general election.
Highland Township Supervisor
A crowded field of Democratic and Republican candidates was narrowed to two finalists on Aug. 7, leaving Republican Rick Hamill and Democrat Doug Bourgeois standing to vie for a four-year term as Highland Township supervisor, a job currently held by Triscia Pilchowski, who did not run for re-election.
The Highland Township supervisor is paid $65,691 annually.
Milford Township Supervisor
Incumbent Don Green easily warded off his three Republican challengers for the township’s chief executive position and — although there are no Democrats appearing on the ballot — still has one more hurdle to clear when he faces independent candidate James Crane, a former Milford Village councilman, in the Nov. 6 general election.
The Milford Township supervisor is paid $71,623 per year and serves a four-year term.
Green was first elected to that position in 2000.
Milford Village Council
Four seats on the Milford Village Council will be filled by voters during the November general election.
Expiring this year are the terms of Council President Terri Rusas-George and councilmembers James Kovach, Elizabeth Heer and Kevin Ziegler.
The council president serves a two-year term and is paid $7.50 a meeting.
Village Council members serve four-year terms and are paid $7.50 per meeting.
Rusas-George, Heer, Kovach and Ziegler will all be unopposed on Nov. 6, as no other candidates filed to run. The filing deadline for candidates was 4 p.m. yesterday, Tuesday, Aug. 14.
Waterford Township Supervisor
Incumbent Carl Solden, a Democrat first elected township supervisor in 2000, is seeking another term. He will compete against Republican Gary Wall in the Nov. 6 general election for a four-year term that pays $90,987 per year.
Wall trounced the other Democrat in the primary election, taking nearly three times as many votes.
Waterford Township Clerk
When the dust settled from the Democratic primary election on Aug. 7, Teresa Fortino, daughter of the late Waterford Clerk Betty Fortino, emerged victorious over her Democratic challenger. Fortino will next take on Republican Sue Camilleri in the general election for the right to serve a four-year term that pays between $72,696 and $94,507 annually, depending on experience.
Waterford Township Trustee
A packed field 13 Republicans and Democrats duked it out in their parties’ respective primary elections for four trustee nominations. Democratic incumbents Bette O’Shea and David Kramer, and Donna Kelley and Garry Nielson advanced to the general election, as did Republican incumbents Anthony Bartolotta and David “Doc” Maloney, and Julie Brown and Karen Joliat.
Township trustees serve four-year terms and are currently paid $10,976 per year.
West Bloomfield Township Supervisor
A bitter battle between incumbent Supervisor Michele Economou Ureste and two Democratic challengers on Aug. 7 ended with Ureste the victor. Although no Republicans entered the race to become the township supervisor — which comes with it a four-year term that pays $109,347 per year — Ureste faces a familiar face in the general election: Former supervisor David Flaisher, an independent candidate who Ureste ousted four years ago in the 2008 primary election.
White Lake Township Supervisor
After a close call on primary election night, Supervisor Greg Baroni, appointed to that position in 2011 following former supervisor Mike Kowall’s election to the state Senate, will face off against Democrat Michael D. Smith in the Nov. 6 general election for a four-year term that pays $75,000 per year.
Walled Lake Consolidated Schools Board of Education
Two positions on the Walled Lake Consolidated Schools Board of Education will be up for grabs on the November ballot this year.
Current vice president Peggy Casagrande’s term is set to expire this December, as is Trustee Marc Siegler’s. Casagrande and Siegler were the only candidates to file prior to the 4 p.m. deadline yesterday, Tuesday, Aug. 14.
Terms for members of the Board of Education are for six years.
Wolverine Lake Village Council
There are five open seats on Wolverine Lake Village Council to be filled by general election voters. The candidate filing deadline was 4 p.m. yesterday, Tuesday, Aug. 14.
The terms of current Councilmen Mike Stack, Brian Nedrow, Bob Malek, Patrick Nagy, and President Pro Tem
Ed Sienkiewicz expire in November 2012.
Nagy was sworn in April, 2012 to complete the term for former council member Linda Champagne. He must now file to run for the position to seek voters’ authorization to serve the remainder of Champagne’s unexpired term.
Sienkiewicz, Nagy, Ron Cumbo, Nedrow, and John Scott were the only candidates to file paperwork to appear on the ballot before yesterday’s deadline, so each will be unopposed on Nov. 6.
The top three vote-getters will earn four-year council terms, while the next two will earn two-year terms.
Huron Valley Schools Board of Education
A pair of four-year seats on the Huron Valley Schools Board of Education are up for grabs in November. The filing deadline was 4 p.m. yesterday, Tuesday, Aug. 14. The terms of board members Charles Dittmar and Lisa Blackwell expire in November 2012.
Blackwell, Jerry Aubry, and Eric Wallis will compete for the two seats in November.
Waterford Schools Board of Education
Two seats on the Waterford Schools Board of Education will be up for grabs in the November general election, as the seats of School Board President Joan Sutherland and Vice President John Himmelspach are set to expire this year. Only Himmelspach and Sutherland filed to run, leaving the two incumbents with no opposition in November.
The deadline to register with Oakland County Elections Division for the Nov. 6 general election expired at 4 p.m. yesterday, Tuesday, Aug. 14.
Candidates will be running for a six-year term.
West Bloomfield Schools Board of Education
The seat of West Bloomfield Board of Education School Board President Bruce Tobin is the only seat up for grabs this year, and will be filled by voters in November.
John Reed and Julie H. Beaty will compete for seat now held by Tobin, who apparently withdrew from the race yesterday, Tuesday, Aug. 14.
The deadline to register with Oakland County Elections Division for the Nov. 6 election expired at 4 p.m. yesterday, Tuesday, Aug. 14.
Candidates will be running for a six-year term.
District residents will also be asked to vote on a building and site sinking fund millage proposal of 1.5 mills over a 10-year period, beginning July 1, 2013 to improve and repair the district’s school buildings.
The owner of a property with a taxable value of $100,000 ($200,000 market value) would pay $150 in the first year of the new millage’s collection.
The district states that the millage would provide the district with estimated revenues totaling $1.63 million during the 2013 calendar year.
Oakland Community College Board of Trustees
Incumbent Pamala M. David, and challengers David R. Kniffen, Gillian A. Levy, Olga Meyer, Christine Marine O’Sullivan, Latrecia Renee Scott, E. Wadsworth Sherrod III, Randy Ston, Ravi Yalamanchi, Angela River, David Trott, Layne Ashley Sakwa, and Clay R. Jansson all filed to run for two trustee spots on the Oakland Community College (OCC) Board of Trustees by yesterday’s Tuesday, Aug. 14 filing deadline.
Members of the OCC Board of Trustees are not paid for their service.