The nominees for Kalamazoo County Commission were decided in the August primary. Here we examine the contested races. 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 competitive seats that are held by democrats.
Note that some ratings have change since the primary.
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. Democrat Michael Seals defeated incumbent democrat Franklin Thompson in district 6.
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] Leans Republican.
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 is seeking a full term after recently being appointed to fill the seat of the late Grady Biby. Democrat Barbara Hammon is also seeking this seat, which is the most Republican in the county.
12. [Oshtemo Township] Leans Republican.
Democrat incumbent John Nieuwenhuis was defeated in the democrat primary by Oshtemo Township Trustee Scott McCormick. He received on 30% in a three-way race. 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. He is a leftist who cites ralph Nader and Dennis Kucinich as his political role models. The Republican nominee will be Brandt Iden.
13. [Cooper and Alamo Townships, 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 nominated John Gisler, a leader of a local taxpayers group. 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.