With two days remaining before the filing deadline for candidates in the Aug. 7, 2012 primary election, several incumbents remain unchallenged so far for Washtenaw County offices. The filing deadline for candidates affiliated with political parties is Tuesday, May 15 at 4 p.m.
Sheriff Jerry Clayton, county prosecuting attorney Brian Mackie and county clerk Larry Kestenbaum – all incumbent Democrats – were the only candidates to have filed by the end of the day on Friday, May 11. No candidates have filed yet for the office of county treasurer – including incumbent Democrat Catherine McClary. According to the county clerk’s office, McClary has picked up the paperwork to file but has not yet turned it in. All of those elected positions are for four-year terms.
Two Democratic candidates – Evan Pratt and Harry Bentz – have filed to run for the office of county water resources commissioner. Janis Bobrin, who has held that position for nearly 24 years, announced in March that she did not intend to run again and she endorsed Pratt in that race. The water resources commissioner is also elected to a four-year term. No Republicans have filed yet for that race.
Serving two-year terms are members of the Washtenaw County board of commissioners. Currently there are 11 county districts, but redistricting that was completed last year will take effect for the 2012 election, shrinking the number of districts to nine. Three of the new districts – 7, 8 and 9 – will represent Ann Arbor, down from the current four. [map of new county board districts]
For the new District 9 in Ann Arbor, incumbent Democrat Conan Smith – who currently serves as county board chair – is the only candidate who has filed. Incumbent Democrat Yousef Rabhi and Republican Joe Baublis have filed in the new District 8 in Ann Arbor. Two Democrats – former county commissioner Christina Montague and Andy LaBarre, a former aide to Congressman John Dingell – have filed in the new District 7. The current incumbent in that district, Democrat Barbara Bergman, has said she will not seek re-election.
In three of the other new districts, only incumbents have filed: Republican Dan Smith of Whitmore Lake (District 2), Republican Alicia Ping of Saline (District 3) and Democrat Ronnie Peterson of Ypsilanti (District 6). In District 1, incumbent Rob Turner of Chelsea is the only Republican who has filed, but two Democrats – Eric Borregard of Dexter and Kent Martinez-Kratz of Chelsea – have entered the race.
In the new District 4, covering Pittsfield Township, only Republican Richard Conn has filed. Conn recently lost a May 8 special election for that seat to incumbent Democrat Felicia Brabec for a truncated term that runs through 2012. Brabec has indicated that she’ll seek re-election for the regular term, and is expected to file before the May 15 deadline. The special election stemmed from the October 2011 resignation of former commissioner Kristin Judge. The county board appointed Brabec to replace Judge at its Oct. 19, 2011 meeting.
Rounding out the county board races, three candidates have filed in the new District 5: Incumbent Democrat Rolland Sizemore Jr. of Ypsilanti Township; Democrat challenger Michael White, also of Ypsilanti Township; and Republican Richard Deitering of Belleville.
There are five county judicial races, for non-partisan six-year terms. In three of those races, only incumbents have filed: J. Cedric Simpson (14th District Court), Joseph F. Burke (15th District Court) and Darlene A. O’Brien (Probate Court).
For a 22nd Circuit Court judgeship, incumbent Timothy P. Connors is challenged by Michael Woodyard. In addition, there are four candidates seeking the 22nd Circuit Court judgeship currently held by Melinda Morris, who is retiring: James A. Fink, Carol Kuhnke, Douglas G. McClure and Erane C. Washington. The non-partisan Aug. 7 primary will winnow the field down to two candidates, with those two candidates facing off on Nov. 6.