Last-Minute Filings: Washtenaw County Races

Several additional candidates for Washtenaw County offices filed on May 15 before the 4 p.m. deadline, but several incumbents remain unchallenged in the Aug. 7 partisan primary.

Sheriff Jerry Clayton, county prosecuting attorney Brian Mackie, county clerk Larry Kestenbaum and county treasurer Catherine McClary – all incumbent Democrats – will not face primary challenges. However, all but Mackie will have a Republican opponent in the Nov. 6 general election. All of those elected positions are for four-year terms.

Running for sheriff as a Republican is Jeffrey R. Gallatin of Ann Arbor. Republican Stanley F. Watson of Ann Arbor Township has filed to run against Kestenbaum for county clerk, while Republican Marlene Chockley of South Lyon is running against McClary in the county treasurer’s race.

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. Eric Scheie of Ann Arbor is the only Republican who filed for that office.

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 – faces no primary challenge, but will run against Republican John Floyd in November. Floyd most recently was a Republican candidate in the 2010 Ward 5 Ann Arbor city council race, losing with 21.9% of the vote to incumbent Democrat Carsten Hohnke – in a three-way race that included Newcombe Clark, who ran as an independent. In 2008 Floyd had also challenged Hohnke, but lost with 20.3% of the vote.

Incumbent Democrat Yousef Rabhi and Republican Joe Baublis are running 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. David Parker is the only Republican to file in that race. The current incumbent in that district, Democrat Barbara Bergman, is not seeking re-election.

Looking at districts outside of Ann Arbor, in District 1 – covering western parts of the county – incumbent Rob Turner of Chelsea is the only Republican who filed, and will face Democrat Kent Martinez-Kratz of Chelsea in the November general election.

In District 2, Republican incumbent Dan Smith of Whitmore Lake is unchallenged in the primary, but will face Democrat Eric Borregard of Dexter in the November general election.

Redistricting has resulted in a race between two incumbents in the new District 3 – Republican Alicia Ping of Saline and Democrat Wes Prater of York Township. Neither of them face primary challenges.

In the new District 4, covering Pittsfield Township, incumbent Democrat Felicia Brabec is the only Democrat in that primary race. On the Republican side, Richard Conn is the only candidate who filed for that district. Conn recently lost a May 8 special election for that seat to Brabec for a truncated term that runs through 2012. The special election resulted from the October 2011 resignation of former commissioner Kristin Judge. The county board appointed Brabec to replace Judge at its Oct. 19, 2011 meeting.

In the new District 5, incumbent Democrat Rolland Sizemore Jr. of Ypsilanti Township will face two primary challengers: Michael White and Rick Roe, both of Ypsilanti Township. One Republican – Richard Deitering of Belleville – has entered the race for District 5.

Rounding out the county board races, in District 6 Democrat incumbent Ronnie Peterson of Ypsilanti does not face a primary challenge, but will run against Republican David H. Raaflaub of Ypsilanti in November.

Candidates who are not affiliated with a political party (independents) have until July 19, 2012 at 4 p.m. to file petitions to appear on the Nov. 6 general election ballot.

There are five county judicial races, for non-partisan six-year terms. In three of those races, only incumbents are running: 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.

Section: Civic News Ticker

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