Voters gear up for primary election

OSCEOLA COUNTY — The August primary election is right around the corner, and voters throughout Osceola County will decide a variety of contested Republican races on their ballots on Tuesday, Aug. 2.

The polls will be open at 7 a.m. on election day and close at 8 p.m.

Voters will have their hand in selecting one of four Republican candidates for the 102nd District State Representative to run against Democrat Douglas Gabert in the November general election.

Jason Briscoe, Michele Hoitenga, Ormand Hook and Morris Langworthy Jr. are vying for the State House seat currently held by Rep. Phil Potvin, R-Cadillac, who is unable to seek reelection because of term limits.

Current 97th District State Rep. Joel Johnson has served six years in the State House and is unable to run again due to term limits. Voters in this portion of the district will be tasked to narrow down five Republican candidates, George Gilmore, Brian Johnson, Jacob Link, Jason Wentworth and Thomas L. Winarski, and two Democrat between Robert C. Corbett and Robert Townsend for the November election.

The only contested race facing voters at the county level is for the road commission. Voters will be asked to select two of the three Republicans running, Doug Bontekoe, Alan L. Gingrich and Alan A. Johnson, to fill those seats.

Osceola County Prosecuting Attorney Tyler Thompson, Sheriff James Crawford, Clerk Karen Blush, Treasurer Lori Leudeman, Register of Deeds Nancy S. Crawford, Drain Commissioner Jerry W. Powell and Surveyor Bill Sikkema are all running unopposed.

All seven county commissioners are seeking reelection to the board and are running unopposed.

There are two countywide millages on the primary ballot.

The first request is a renewal for the 1 mill county road patrol millage. First approved by voters in 1995 to keep six deputies, vehicles and equipment on the road. The millage has helped supplement the sheriff’s budget since its approval. The six-year request would run through 2021 and raise nearly $700,000 within the first year.

The second request is a .2 mills proposal for continued operations of senior citizens services from the Osceola County Commission on Aging. The request is estimated to raise $139,935 in its first year. This four-year proposal would run through 2019 and be in addition to the current .8 mill approved by voters in 2014.


More than half of Osceola County’s townships have contested Republican races on the ballot to narrow down candidates for board positions or trustee seats for the November general election.

In Sylvan Township, voters will decide between Trisha Dodd and Terry Pritchard to serve as township clerk.

Three Republican candidates are running for two trustee seats in Rose Lake Township. Voters will be asked to select Gary Wall and incumbents Holly Gingrich or Jack Wilson.

There are three different contested races in Osceola Township. Paul Brown, the incumbent supervisor, is running against challenger Tim Ladd. Sherri Bancroft and Jennifer Rounds are both seeking the clerk’s position. Ronald L. Machleit and Wilmer Rice are running against current trustees Connie Holmes and Darlene Joy Schroeder for two seats on the board.

In Lincoln Township, Mark Brock and Michael D. Green are running for the supervisor’s position. Incumbent trustee Hector J. Couture, along with David Armond Ball and Nicholas C. Peffer II, are seeking two seats on the township board.

In Evart Township, incumbent supervisor Vicki L. Cushman is facing Chad L. Booher for the seat. Five candidates, incumbent trustees Stephen Campbell and Sarah S. Parsons, along with Dale L. Bailey, Molly Cataldo and Brian C. Cushman are running for two seats on the board.

Highland Township voters have two contested races on their ballots. Incumbent Sidney J. King will be facing Derek Wing to serve as supervisor. Two trustee seats are up for grabs between three candidates, Chris Peterson and incumbents L.D. Hesselink and Kenneth L. Van Polen. Voters also are being asked to approve a 2-mill, four-year road improvement millage, raising an estimated $61,609.69 in the first year.

In Middle Branch Township, three candidates are vying for two trustee seats. Voters are asked to select two candidates from incumbent Sarah D. Blackledge, Ronald Austin and Karon Krause. The township also is asking voters to renew the 1 mill road millage through 2017. In the first year, the renewal would raise nearly $24,500.

Cedar Township voters will have to select two candidates to serve as trustees, among Mary Clark and incumbents Theodore A. Knecht and Christopher Lockhart. Voters in the township also are being asked to approve a 2-mill road millage that would last four years. The millage would raise an estimated $48,561.36 annually.

In Hersey Township, incumbent treasurer Jeanette M. Hays is facing Jessica Wayne.

There are three separate contested Republican primary races in Sherman Township. Voters will have to decide between incumbent supervisor David Eggle and Reeves Box for the township’s top position. Treasurer Sharon Black is facing Kimberly Leonard. Wilber Gasper joins incumbent trustees Donald F. Akers and Peter Nemish in seeking two seats on the board.

Sherman Township residents also are being asked to renew a 2-mill road maintenance request for four years. The renewal would raise an estimated $65,000 in the first year.

In Leroy Township, voters are being asked to renew its 2-mill road maintenance and improvement millage through 2019. The millage would raise an estimated $66,000 in the first year.


Osceola County voters residing in the Pine River Area Schools District are being asked to renew the district’s current operating millage. The 18-mill request would be levied on all non-homestead property, and allow the district to receive its full per-pupil foundation allowance from the state.

Residents in the McBain Rural Agricultural School District are being asked to approve a 18 mill operating millage proposal that exempts principal residences and qualified agricultural property. The proposal would assure the district receives its per-pupil foundation allowance from the state. If passed, the millage would raise a little more than $1 million.