Heavily contested primary races found in some Western Washtenaw townships
Dexter Township voters will need a score card to keep track of all the choices they have when it comes to the August primary races, and Sylvan and Lima township voters will need to do their homework before they go to the polls as well.
Let's start with the race for supervisor in Dexter Township where there are a pair of Democrats and a pair of Republicans running for supervisor.
Incumbent Pat Kelly, who filed as a Democrat, will face Karen Nolte, who also filed as a Democrat. Meanwhile, on the Republican side, former Township Supervisor Jim Drolett, who recently retired as Chelsea’s Zoning administrator, is running against Kathryn Bowring.
And, keeping it in the family, Libby Brushaber, a current trustee on the Township Board, and Drolett’s wife, is running as one of three candidates for township treasurer.
Brushaber has filed as a Republican, Mark Wojno, who was a trustee previously, also filed as a Republican and then there’s Jason Maciejewski, a current trustee, who filed as both a candidate for treasurer and for trustee as a Democrat.
Here's what Harley Rider, a Republican, who will run unopposed for clerk as a Republican in the primary, said.
"Jason has until May 18 to withdraw from one of the positions for which he filed, because he can’t be on the ballot for both of them."
So stay tuned for the final verdict on which position for which he decides he'd rather be a candidate.
Also filing for the four trustee spots are Steve Feinman, a Democrat, who is on the board as an appointed member filling a vacant position. Michael Howard, who previously served on the board, filed as a Republican, as did John Emrick, Bill Gajewski, and incumbent Carl Lesser.
In neighboring Lyndon Township, Republican Supervisor John Francis, who has already served 14 years as township supervisor and four years as a trustee, chose to run for a trustee position this election cycle.
“If I’m elected, I will have served 22 years on the board,” he said.
Filing for supervisor as a Republican is current Trustee Marc Keezer, who Francis said he encouraged to run for the spot.
Treasurer Mary Jane Maze, a Republican, and Clerk Linda Reilly, also filed and, according to the county Website, will run unopposed in the primary.
The second candidate to file for the two trustee positions is Incumbent Robert Mester, a Democrat.
In Lima Township, there will be a three-way race for supervisor among three Republicans: Craig Maier, the retired superintendent of the Department of Public Works in Chelsea, Incumbent Ken Unterbrink, who has been in office for 12 years, and Robert Spink.
“I was not surprised (that other candidates had challenged him),” Unterbrink said. “After 12 years, you can’t do the right thing and please everyone.”
Maier said he decided to run for office because, “I would like to work with the residents of Lima Township in a friendly and cooperative way.”
He said since he retired after 25 years with Chelsea, he wanted to “get more involved with the local community.”
Republican Clerk Arlene Bareis and Treasurer Nanette Havens, both incumbents, will run unopposed in the primary for their seats. Residents will have to choose among three Republican trustee candidates, Lawrence Risner and incumbents Greg McKenzie and Don Laier.
In Sylvan Township, voters are being asked to support a ballot question for a 20-year, 4.4 mill tax increase to pay for $9.775 million in sewer and water system debt bond payments as well as $1.213 million owed to the Washtenaw County treasurer for money advanced to the township when a developer stopped paying special assessment district taxes.
Trustee Scott Cooper, a Republican, was the only candidate to file for supervisor. Supervisor Bob Lange, who filed as a Democrat four years ago, chose not to run for re-election.
Republican Incumbent Clerk LuAnn Koch, who has served in the position for 24 years, has a Republican challenger for the seat in Douglas Smith.
Arlene Grau, a Republican, who has served as township treasurer for 16 years, is being challenged by Republican Rodney Branham for the position.
Sylvan Township voters will chose two candidates from the three running for trustee. They are Republicans Kurt P. Koseck, Incumbent Reuben Lesser, Jr., and Roy Schmidt, who previously ran for treasurer, and is listed as the vice chairman of the Western Washtenaw Democrats on the group's Website.
In Webster Township, according to the county Website, incumbent Republican Supervisor John Kingsley is running unopposed in the primary as are incumbent Republican Clerk Mary Dee Heller and incumbent Republican Treasurer Carol A. Whitney.
Voters will be asked to vote for four trustees and there are six candidates. The four incumbents are Republicans Charles L. Estleman, Gary Koch, Richard Kleinschmidt and John Westman, while the newcomers are Republican Robert J. Mitzel and Democrat Bradley Gibson.
In Scio Township, the Democratic board is running for re-election and according to the county website, and are all running unopposed in the primary. Those candidates are Supervisor Spaulding Clark, Clerk Nancy Hedberg, Treasurer Donna Palmer and Trustees Dick DeLong, Christine Green, David Read and Jack Knowles.
Candidates have until May 18 to change their minds and withdraw from what's shaping up as an interesting election year. So, Western Washtenaw voters, expect some serious campaigning from your neighbors before this important Aug. 7 primary.