The filing deadline for the November election passed on Tuesday. Here we examine the races for Kalamazoo County Commission.
Unofficial Candidates List for August 3, 2010 Primary
Many races are uncontested. No Republicans filed for districts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. No democrats filed for districts 8 or 14. A couple of these races have contested primaries, however. We profile the contested races below.
3. [Edison neighborhood] Safe democrat.
Incumbent Robert Barnard is being challenged by Eric Sweet in the democrat primary. This blog is unfamiliar with Mr. Sweet. Barnard is likely safe.
6. [eastern and northern Kalamazoo Township] Safe democrat.
Incumbent Franklin Thompson is being challenged by Michael Seals in the democrat primary. Thompson, who is in his mid-80s, is disliked by local democrat leaders. However, he has easily rebuffed primary challenges the past couple elections.
7. [Milwood area] Safe democrat.
Incumbent David Buskirk is being challenged by Republican Kai Phillips. Buskirk is a long-time popular incumbent, and is safe here. Phillips ran unsuccessfully for Kalamazoo City Commission last year.
9. [northern Portage] Leans Republican.
Incumbent Republican Nasim Ansari is being challenged by democrat Chuck Vliek. Ansari, a veteran of the County Commission and Portage City Council, was first elected with 67% of the vote in 2002. However, he has faced closer elections since then, dropping to 52% in 2008. Vliek is the son of longtime Portage City Council member Ted Vliek.
10. [central Portage] Toss-up.
Incumbent democrat Michael Quinn is being challenged by Republican Phil Stinchcomb. Quinn was elected in 2008 by defeating former Portage Mayor James Graham, who did almost no campaigning. Republican Tom Drabik was retiring. Quinn opposed the arena proposal and cosponsored a measure that would have prevented abortion funding, which may alienate some democrats. Stinchcomb is a conservative Republican who ran unsuccessfully for Portage City Council last year.
11. [Texas Township] Safe Republican.
Republican Tim Rogowski will seek a full term after recently being appointed to fill the seat of the late Grady Biby. He will face John Cross in the Republican primary. Rogowski is a moderate, while Cross' politics are unknown. Democrat Barbara Hammon is also seeking this seat, which is the most Republican in the county.
12. [Oshtemo Township] Toss-up.
Democrat John Nieuwenhuis faces competition in both the primary and general election. Both Oshtemo Township Trustee Scott McCormick and Scott Spicer are running for the democrat nomination. Nieuwenhuis defeated incumbent Republican Bob Brink, who did little campaigning, in 2006 and held off Republican Chris Haenicke in 2008. McCormick did no visible campaigning in 2008 and was elected purely based on straight-ticket voting. It isn't clear why both he and Spicer are running. The Republican nominee will be Brandt Iden.
13. [Cooper and Alamo Township, Parchment] Safe Republican.
Incumbent Republican Deb Buchholtz faces democrat Harvey Hanna.
15. [Comstock Township] Leans Republican.
Incumbent Republican Ann Nieuwenshuis faces democrat Leroy Crabtree, who she unseated in 2008. Nieuwenhuis, a moderate Republican, opposed the arena while supporting abortion funding. She was one of very few Republicans in the state to unseat an incumbent democrat in 2008. Crabtree, a moderate union democrat, unseated Republican Joe VanBruggen in 2006.
16. [Pavillion, Climax, Fulton Townships] Leans Republican.
Incumbent Jeff Balkema is retiring. Republicans will choose between John Gisler, a leader of a local taxpayers group, and John O'Keefe, whose politics are unknown. Thomas Post, who ran several close-but-losing races against Balkema, will be the democrat nominee.
17. [Brady, Schoolcraft, Priare Ronde Townships] Safe Republican.
Incumbent moderate Republican David Maturen faces democrat Jerry Rudolph.
Democrats currently control the board 9-8. To win back control, Republicans will have to hold all the seats that lean Republican while picking up at least one of the two seats that are toss-ups.