August battles finalized

OSCEOLA COUNTY – Voters will have a lot to think about as 33 candidates will vie for 17 positions in Osceola County.

After last Tuesday’s filing deadline, the names appearing on the ballot in the county’s August primary election have been finalized.

Though the official election will take place in November, the primary election may decide the winner in contested races in which all candidates are running in the Republican party.

Sixteen candidates are running for seven county commission seats, 12 of whom filed in the last two weeks before the deadline.

“In all my years (in office), I’ve never seen this many candidates file for commissioner,” said Karen Bluhm, Osceola County clerk.

Running for District One, which covers LeRoy Township, Lincoln Township and the west half of Burdell Township are incumbent Mark Brock, Charles Kampmueller and Jill Halladay. District Two covers Rose Lake Township, Sherman Township and the east half of Burdell Township. Candidates include incumbent Tammy Stoner and Mark Gregory.

Matt Keller will run for the commissioner’s position for District Four, which covers Middle Branch Township, Orient Township, Sylvan Township and the east half of Evart Township, challenging incumbent Alan Tiedt.

Running for District Five, which covers the City of Evart and Cedar and Osceola townships are incumbent Roger Elkins and hopefuls Charles Walter and Kevinn Beemer.

Pamela Wayne and Ryan Steig will challenge incumbent Dave Brooks for the commission seat representing District Six, which includes Hersey Township, the west half of Evart Township and Richmond Township south of Three Mile Road. and east of 200th Avenue.

Running for District Seven, which covers Reed City and Richmond Township north of Three Mile Road and west of 200th Avenue are incumbent Larry Emig and Jackie Youngs.

The only unopposed commission candidate on the ballot will be incumbent Ron Sikkema, running to keep his position as commissioner for District Three, which covers Hartwick, Highland and Marion townships.

Bluhm said a change in individuals who serve on the board of commissioners has pros and cons.

“You lose some of the continuity and knowledge of how the system works,” Bluhm said, “but sometimes change is a good thing.”

Some individuals enter the race for a county office with an agenda of changing how things are done in the county, but sometimes achieving those goals are not plausible, Bluhm said.

“Legally sometimes you can’t do things differently,” Bluhm said. “I don’t think anybody coming right in (as a commissoiner) has all the knowledge they need. It takes a while to get used to how the system works.”

Also running for prosecutor on the ballot in August will be incumbent James Sims II and Tyler Thompson.

Incumbent James Crawford and his former undersheriff David Fowler have filed to run for sheriff as Republicans, and Richard Argue is running as a Democrat.

The drain commissioner’s position will be contested between incumbent Jerry Powell and Wil Hoitenga, both Republicans.

Six candidates will run for two six-year terms on the road commission board, including incumbent Gary Wemple, incumbent John Atkins, Brian Cushman, Doug Kanouse and Lawrence Mahlich, all Republicans, along with Democrat Ronald Boyer.

Four incumbent officials will run uncontested: Karen Bluhm, clerk; Nancy Crawford, register of deeds; Lori Leudeman, treasurer and Bill Sikkema, surveyor.

The primary election will be held Tuesday, August 7, and the general election will be Tuesday, November 6.