by CYNTHIA KMETT
We will all get a few weeks’ respite from a mailbox crowded with campaign literature, but there are some new names coming to the November 6 ballot and many of them will be new to local voters, and many of them will be female.
You will want to read all the literature this fall. Cities and townships, including Troy, suffered ballot shortages during Tuesday’s primary. There were not enough in all precincts to cover the 36 percent of Troy’s 55,000 registered voters who went to the polls. City clerks have penned a response as to why this happened, and you will find it below. Troy City Clerk Aileen Dickson says the clerks are all going to work together to make sure this never happens again.
Congressman Dave Trott did not seek re-election. Now vying for his 11th District Congressional seat in Washington D.C. will be Republican Lena Epstein and Democrat Haley Stevens. Both women defeated four other candidates to take the election.
At the state level, the governor’s race sees Bill Schuette squaring off against Gretchen Whitmer. And, current U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat, will be facing newcomer John James, a Republican.
Closer to home, we had a close and hotly contested election in which local Troy Republican politicians Doug Tietz and Ethan Baker battled it out to run for the Michigan House in District 41, where current Rep. Martin Howrylak was term-limited. Tietz was declared the winner with 4,882 votes to Baker’s 4,521, but it took until 2 a.m. to know who had captured the right to face another Troy resident, Democrat Padma Kuppa in November to represent Troy and Clawson in Lansing.
Kuppa, a member of the Troy Planning Commission, was unopposed in her race for the nomination, but did receive 10,330 votes from supporters. She campaigned all summer like she already had an opponent. “I cannot thank you enough for your support of our campaign, to make sure that we turn around from where the Republican leadership in Lansing has brought us,” Kuppa said to her supporters. “It was our grassroots efforts talking to voters at their doorsteps and on the phone, that helped us win tonight and will help us win again in November.”
The Tietz/Baker race was one that garnered lots of voter attention this summer. Both candidates worked very hard, knocking on literally thousands of doors. Tietz is a former member of Troy City Council and the Oakland County Commission. Baker is a current member of Troy City Council.
When 2 a.m. finally showed the results, Tietz issued a statement, saying, “Thank you to the friends, neighbors, and family that have spent countless hours walking door-to-door, calling, and assembling yard signs. It was hard work but your efforts paid off.”
Tietz went on: “I’d like to especially recognize the leadership of both Ethan Baker and Ron Dwyer who both ran great campaigns for State Representative. Both of them showed great poise and a deep love for serving Clawson and Troy. I’m sure they will be leaders for years to come. Ethan, Ron – thank you for your leadership.”
Baker was equally thankful in his defeat, noting, “If winning a campaign was defined by having an extremely close race within a few percentage points, full of incredible grassroots supporters and friends, knocking on thousands of doors, being honored to listen to the amazing people of this community, learning what matters to them, and most importantly, in this election, running a 100% positive campaign that soundly resonated with our community – then we would have won this campaign – hands down. But, unfortunately, we did not win this election.”
Baker continued: “I am very proud to report, however, that we did have great voting successes yesterday! After the polls closed last night, we learned quickly we won the overall city of Clawson. Thank you, Clawson! You are an amazing city and I would have been proud to represent you in the State Legislature. We also won the Election Day precinct votes in the city of Troy! We could feel it in the air yesterday with all of the smiles and thumbs up messages of support we received. Thank you, Troy – the city my family and I love and call home. It wasn’t until 2:00 this morning that we learned, when all of Troy’s absentee ballots were counted, we came up 361 votes short overall, and therefore, lost the election where over 10,000 people had voted.” Baker, too, had thanks for all his supporters, especially his wife Bethany.
Interestingly, in this election, there were just about as many Democratic voters as there were Republicans. Troy has traditionally been solid Republican territory. Could there be a shift on the horizon? Will the supporters of the defeated candidates, and there were as many last week as there were open seats with no incumbent on the ballot, return to the polls to support the winners?
That seemed to be a bit of a worry for both parties as they both held “unity rallies” following the election.
In the race for the Michigan Senate seat, Troy resident and 13th District incumbent Republican Michigan State Senator Marty Knollenberg was unopposed on the Republican ticket for the nomination. He will be on the ballot facing Mallory McMorrow, a Royal Oak resident, and someone new to politics who was also unopposed for the nomination.
There are two races for County Commissioner. In the 16th District, which includes Clawson and some of Troy, Republican incumbent Wade Fleming will face Democrat Penny Luebs. In the 11th District, which includes northern Troy and southern Rochester Hills, both newcomers, Republican Thomas Kuhn will square off against Democrat Ann Erickson Gault. They are both local attorneys.
Find the full list of Oakland County’s unofficial election results at oakgov.com/