2016-11-17 / News

County Voters Lean Heavily Republican, Supporting Trump, Bergman, Chatfield

Locally, Jail Millage Request Fails and Republican Sweep Carries County Offices, Too

Voters in Mackinac County overwhelmingly supported Presidentelect Donald J. Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence on election day Tuesday, November 8. The Republicans received 60.94% or 3,744 votes. Democratic nominees Hillary Rodham Clinton and Tim Kaine received 33.94% or 2,085 votes.

For the First Congressional District

Representative in the U.S. Congress, Republican Jack Bergman was successful in his bid. He received 3,433 votes in Mackinac County or 56.47% of the vote. Democrat Lon Johnson received 38.94% or 2,367 votes in the county.

For State Representative in the 107th District, Lee Chatfield was successful in his reelection bid, receiving 68.57% or 4,074 votes. Democrat

Phil Bellfy received 31.16% or 1,851 votes.

County Issues and Candidates

The millage for a new Mackinac County jail failed, 3,219 no to 2,271 yes. The proposal sought a 0.76 mill, 20 year bond. The jail was needed, Sheriff Scott Strait said, to address overcrowding issues and update the jail’s outdated equipment. It would have funded a new jail with 88 beds, rather than the existing 25 beds.

“I don’t think there isn’t anybody who doesn’t believe we need a new jail, they just don’t want to pay for it,” Sheriff Strait told The St. Ignace News. “I think that’s the sentiment right now.”

The $12 million price tag may have discouraged some voters, he believes.

“The people believe that the jail is needed, but that belief and the need doesn’t outweigh their apprehension to have their taxes increase, even though it’s a small commitment by the average person. $40, $45, $50 a year for the next 20 years is not very much money. That’s $800 to $1,000 total.”

The need won’t go away, he said.

“At some point, we are going to have to address this issue in an affirmative way.”

Sheriff Strait said his practices for addressing the overcrowding problem will have to continue until the jail is upgraded, which means releasing inmates early, fewer arrests, and sometimes not accepting misdemeanor offenders.

“What we’re doing now is not the safest alternative for the community,” he said, “because people are not completing their sentences and people are not being arrested. But the people have spoken, and we’ll deal with it as we can.”

Before the sheriff’s office tries again for the new jail millage, Sheriff Strait intends to research why this proposal failed, including what questions people have about the project. They’ll also look at refining or reducing the cost of the project. In two years, if there is public support for the new jail millage, the sheriff’s office will try again. If there isn’t public support, it will wait four years.

In the contested Mackinac County Prosecutor race, incumbent Republican Stuart Spencer won with 3,177 votes to Democrat challenger Kayla Pelter’s 2,795 votes.

For Mackinac County Clerk, Republican Lori Wisner Johnston won with 3,443 votes to Democrat Judy St. Louis’s 2,584 votes. Ms. Johnston takes over for current clerk Mary Kay Tamlyn, who is retiring.

The remaining county offices saw uncontested races. For county sheriff, incumbent Republican Scott Strait received 4,756 votes. Republican Jennifer Goudreau received 4,694 votes for county treasurer, taking over for Nora Massey who retired. Incumbent Republican Deborah Holle received 4,608 votes for Register of Deeds. Incumbent Republican Lester Livermore, Jr. received 4,462 votes for road commissioner. Incumbent Republican Jeffrey Davis received 4,548 votes for surveyor.

Two Mackinac County Commissioner races were contested this election cycle. Republican Dan Litzner, with 701 votes, won in District 2 over Independent Nora Massey’s 468 votes. Mr. Litzner takes over for Lawrence Leveille, who stepped down.

In District 3, Republican Paul Krause won with 571 votes to Democrat incumbent Dave Sudol’s 332 votes.

In uncontested races, incumbent board chair Republican Jim Hill received 988 votes in District 1, incumbent Republican Diane Patrick received 1,025 votes in District 4, and incumbent Republican Calvin McPhee received 925 votes in District 5.

City and Township Results

At Mackinac Island, the school operating millage passed, 305 yes to 112 no. The renewal will levy 7.8 mils for three years.

The St. Ignace Township Board of Trustees will have all new officers. In an uncontested race, Democrat Steven Campbell earned 258 votes. A former township trustee, Mr. Campbell takes over for Dale Nelson.

Democrat Sheri Massey Oja will be the new township clerk, taking over for Donna Harju. She won with 222 votes to Republican Kim Hagen’s 170 votes and will take over for Donna Harju.

Republican Mark Eby will be treasurer, taking over for Cheryl Schairer. He won with 218 votes to Democrat Tina Jones Massey’s 174 votes.

Filling Don Schairer’s and Mr. Campbell’s trustee seats are Republicans Allen Mitchell with 219 votes and Glenn McKenzie with 189 votes. Democrats Matt Oja with 166 votes and Staci Nelson with 161 votes were unsuccessful in their trustee bids.

In Clark Township, the fire millage passed with 825 yes to 242 no. The 0.85 mil request will be levied for two years to purchase a new fire rescue truck and fire department equipment. It is expected to raise $159,311 in 2017.

For the Clark Township board races, only treasurer was contested. Independent Jason Sherlund won with 642 votes to Republican Mark Clymer’s 503 votes. Mr. Sherlund will take over for Katie Carpenter, who resigned her post earlier this year.

For supervisor, incumbent Republican Gary Reid received 974 votes. For clerk, incumbent Democrat Susan Rutledge received 860 votes. Incumbents Sarah Patton with 830 votes and Pat Schuster with 479 votes secured trustee positions.

For the Brevort Township Board of Trustees, only the supervisor race was contested. Incumbent Republican Ed Serwach won with 188 votes to former trustee and Democrat challenger Luci Wallace’s 124 votes. All other township offices were uncontested. Incumbent Republican Heather Bird received 278 votes for clerk. Republican Brian Olsen received 262 votes for treasurer, taking over for Dan Litzner. And Republicans William Orr with 233 votes and Jonathan Litzner with 228 votes secured the two trustee seats. They take over for Ms. Wallace and Vern Erskin.

Moran Township saw all uncontested races. Incumbent supervisor Democrat Jim Durm received 395 votes. Incumbent clerk Democrat Kris Vallier received 444 votes. Incumbent treasurer Democrat Sue Dionne received 420 votes. Republicans Chuck Malcolm, an incumbent, with 345 votes and Mark Spencer with 416 votes are the trustees.

Results of the remaining township races follow, and contested races are noted:

Bois Blanc Township

Only treasurer race was contested.

Supervisor: Brent Sharpe received 78 votes.

Clerk: Diane Akright received 80 votes.

Treasurer: Anne Kennedy with 62 votes won over Democrat Cheryl Gahn’s 26 votes.

Trustee: Tom Wybranowski with 75 votes and Louise Sullivan with 66 votes secured the trustee positions.

Garfield Township

All races uncontested.

Supervisor: Democrat Donald Butkovich received 407 votes.

Clerk: Republican Paula Fillman 504 votes.

Treasurer: Reublican Debra Bennett received 521 votes.

Trustee: Republicans Clarence Ketcher, Sr. received 492 votes and Duncan MacArthur received 474 votes.

Hendricks Township

All races uncontested.

Supervisor: Democrat Howard Hood won with 45 votes to Republican’s Ron Frazier 36 votes.

Clerk: Republican Barbara Price received 64 votes.

Treasurer: Democrat Cheryl Hood received 64 votes.

Constable: Republican Jerry Eifler received 59 votes.

Trustee: Republicans William Cheesman with 71 votes and Ken Collier with 58 votes secured the two trustee positions.

Hudson Township

Only trustee race contested.

Supervisor: Democrat Al Garavaglia received 78 votes.

Clerk: Democrat Barbara Kerridge received 78 votes.

Treasurer: Democrat Jacqueline Prout received 74 votes.

Trustee: Republican Karen Kerridge with 65 votes and Democrat Gary Derusha with 64 votes won the two trustee seats. Democrat David Livermore received 40 votes and was unsuccessful in his bid.

Marquette Township

All races uncontested.

Supervisor: Republican John Kronemeyer received 283 votes.

Clerk: Republican Renaw Leese received 294 votes.

Treasurer: Democrat Jan Huyck Fehner received 255 votes.

Trustee: Republicans William Beacom with 282 votes and Brody Waybrant with 248 votes secured the trustee positions.

Newton Township

Supervisor, clerk, and trustee races contested.

Supervisor: Incumbent Republican Fred Burton won with 197 votes compare to Democrat Bob Brotherton’s 65 votes.

Clerk: Democrat Nikki Tremblay won with 163 votes to Republican Sherry Salter’s 98 votes.

Treasurer: Republican Marilyn Strickland received 205 votes.

Trustee: Republicans Keith Keller received 170 votes and Democrat Ronald O’Neil received 147 votes to secure two trustee positions. Republican Neil McArthur with 128 votes was unsuccessful in his bid.

Portage Township

All races uncontested.

Supervisor: Republican Steven Sicinski received 451 votes.

Clerk: Incumbent Republican Pat Maclachian received 464 votes.

Treasurer: Republican Marlene Porter received 470 votes, while Democrat incumbent Joni Davis (who withdrew from the race, although her name still appeared on the ballot) received 195 votes.

Trustee: Republicans Patrick Abram received 470 votes and Edgar Holbrook received 432 votes for the trustee positions.

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