Contested races, local proposals on general election ballot

REED CITY — While the heated presidential race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton continues to dominate headlines for the upcoming Tuesday, Nov. 8, general election, voters in Osceola County will find a handful of contested local races on the ballot. Some township and school proposals will need to be decided as well.

Voters in all precincts in Osceola County are going to have their say in the U.S. Congressional race for the fourth district, where incumbent John Moolenaar, R-Midland, is facing five challengers: Democrat Debra Wirth, Libertarian Leonard Schwartz, U.S. Taxpayers Party candidate George Zimmer, Jordan Salvi from the Green Party, and Keith Butkovich of the Natural Law Party.

In races for seats in the Michigan House of Representatives, most Osceola County residents will have their hand in choosing between Republican Michele Hoitenga and Democrat Douglas Gabert, for the 102nd District seat. Current representative Phil Potvin, R-Cadillac, is term-limited. A small slice of the population will see Republican Jason Wentworth and Democrat Robert Townsend as candidates for the 97th District House seat.

Also at the state level, voters will have to decide on two candidates for the Michigan State Board of Education, two regents for the University of Michigan, two trustees for Michigan State University and two governors for Wayne State University.

Voters also will decide on two Michigan Supreme Court justice seats. In a race for an 8-year term, Justice David Viviano is running against Doug Dern and Fran Szymanski. A partial term position has Justice Joan Larsen facing Kerry L. Morgan and Deborah Thomas.

In Osceola County, the position of prosecuting attorney is on the ballot, with Tyler Thompson running unopposed in the race. However, Thompson recently was appointed to be the probate court judge for both Osceola and Mecosta counties by Gov. Rick Snyder.

According to Osceola County Clerk, Karen Bluhm, Thompson will not be sworn in as judge prior to the general election, and his name will remain on the ballot. However, former prosecuting attorney James Sims II and Erin Carrier Barnhart have filed as write-in candidates for the prosecuting attorney position. The write-in deadline is 4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 28, leading to potentially additional write-in candidates.

If Thompson wins the election, Bluhm said that when Thompson takes the oath as judge, an appointment by the 49th Circuit Court judges will be needed for the prosecutor’s position to complete the end of his term. When a new term begins on Jan. 1, a second appointment by the judges would be needed the new term for position and last until the next general election in 2018, and the winner would serve the final two years of the term.

The only other county-level race that is contested on the ballot is for the position of sheriff. Current Osceola County Sheriff Jim Crawford is running under the Republican Party and is facing independent David Fowler.

Bluhm, County Treasurer Lori Leudeman, Register of Deeds Nancy Crawford, Drain Commissioner Jerry Powell, Surveyor Bill Sikkema are all running unopposed.

Incumbent Alan Gringrich and fellow Republican Alan Johnson are running unopposed for two seats on the road commission.

Current county commissioners Larry Emig, Alan Tiedt, Pam Wayne, Jill Halladay, Roger Elkins, Jack Nehmer and Mark Gregory are all running unopposed for reelection.


Two seats on the Evart City Council are contested in November’s general election. Incumbent Ralph Carlson is running against John C. Joyce and Rickie L. Machleit.

In Hersey, John Calabrese and Robin Marvel are running for village president. Meanwhile, Kimberly Erickson, James A. Jackson Sr. and Patricia Ruth Jacobs are running for two trustee positions.

Four candidates, Michael E. Blanchard, Gary Edstrom, Jody Jordan and Diana Vandercook, are all running to be president for the Village of LeRoy.

In Lincoln Township, two trustee positions are up for election on the board. Republicans Hector J. Couture and Nicholas C. Peffer II are running against Democrats Danielle Ball and Adam Stein.

In Reed City, Dan Burchett, Roger W. Meinert, David Scharlow, Carol A. Tillotson and Evan C. Traynor are running for two full-term city council seats up for election.


Voters in Evart and Osceola townships are being asked to approve a 1-mill increase through 2018 for the Evart Area Joint Fire Department, to be used for maintenance and improvement to the join fire hall. In Evart Township, the approval of the proposal would raise $47,837 in 2016. The increase in Evart Township, however, is contingent upon approval of 1-mill increases, special assessments or other revenue raising devices to support the joint fire department in the City of Evart and Sylvan, Osceola and Orient townships. If approved by voters in Osceola Township, the 1-mill increase would raise an estimated $28,922 in the first year.

Voters in Orient Township are being asked to approve a four-year, 1-mill road construction and maintenance proposal. If approved, it would raise an estimated $31,565 annually.

The City of Reed City is asking residents to approve an amendment to the city’s charter, modifying bidding requirements and procedure. If approved by residents, the change would regulate the purchase and sale of city property, while removing regulations setting the monetary thresholds requiring competitive bidding and setting procedural requirements.

Sherman Township voters are being asked to renew the four-year, 2-mill proposal for continued participation in the Tustin Area Fire District. If approved, the renewal would raise an estimated $63,000 in the first year it is levied.

In Sylvan Township, voters are being asked to renew a four-year, 1-mill proposal for road construction and maintenance. It is estimated to raise nearly $32,000 annually if approved.


Evart Public Schools is asking its voters to renew an 18-mill non-homestead proposal. The four-year proposal would only apply to all non-principal residences in the district and is required so the district can receives its per-pupil foundation allowance. In 2019, the proposal would raise nearly $1.83 million.

There are seven people running for four seats on the Reed City Area Public Schools Board of Education. Those running are: Kristine M. Fuller, Kimberly Johnson, Jesse Kailing, Mitch Miller, Jason Proefrock, Ed Raby and Jeremiah Thompson.

Terry Kischnick and Linda B. Raymond are running for one seat on the Marion Public Schools Board of Education.

At Pine River Area Schools, Kevin Delancey, Rose Ann Fowler and Jim Peterson are running for two seats on the board of education.