Monday, January 04, 2016

2016 Kalamazoo County Commission Races

This post was last updated August 5, 2016.

Democrats won a 6-5 majority on the Kalamazoo County Commission in 2014, otherwise a mostly Republican year.  They picked up one seat, while six new commissioners were elected due to retirements.  There are three retirements in 2016 and several seats are likely to be hotly contested.

The following post has detailed descriptions of the districts and their political leanings. The numbers given are the percentage the Republican county commission candidate got in 2012 and 2014, Mitt Romney's 2-party percentage in 2012, and Ruth Johnson's percentage in 2010.  Incumbents are marked below with asterisks.

Kalamazoo County Commission Districts.

List of Kalamazoo County Candidates

District 1 [N Kalamazoo] Safe Democrat
R12: 13.9 R14: 0 Romney: 13.5 Johnson: 20.3
Democrat: Stephanie Moore*
Republican: Jessica Salvano
Stephanie Moore replaced Carolyn Alford, who retired, having held office since 2006.  She won the 2014 primary in this majority minority district with 55%.  Moore was a Kalamazoo city commissioner and has been convicted of several crimes over the years.

District 2 [SE Kalamazoo] Safe Democrat
R12: 0 R14: 29.5 Romney: 28.1 Johnson: 33.4
Democrat: Kevin Wordelman*
Republican: T Casey Fawley
Incumbent David Buskirk (1992-2014) retired to run for the democrat nomination in the 60th state house district, which he lost. Wordelman, a union organizer at WMU, defeated Jeremy Orr 68-32 in the 2014 primary.

District 3 [SW Kalamazoo] Safe Democrat
R12: 31.1 R14: 32.3 Romney: 30.1 Johnson: 37.2
Democrat: Tracy Hall
Republican: Charley Coss
John Taylor, who was first elected in 2002 is running for county clerk.  Hall was a candidate for Kalamazoo city commission in 2013.

District 4 [Kalamazoo Twp, Parchment] Safe Democrat
R12: 32.2 R14: 0 Romney: 31.7 Johnson: 41.8
Democrat: Michael Seals*
Republican: none
Seals defeated fellow democrat commissioner (2002-2010) Franklin Thompson in 2010.  Seals beat Thompson 66-34 in 2016.

District 5 [Alamo, N Oshtemo, NW Kalamazoo Twp] Likely Democrat
R12: 44.3 R14: 44.7 Romney: 47.2 Johnson: 56.9
Democrat: Julie Rogers*
Republican: Chad Dillon
Rogers won this swingy seat in 2012.  Dillon is a staffer for Congressman Fred Upton.

District 6 [Cooper, Richland, Ross] Safe Republican
R12: 54 R14: 100 Romney: 54.7 Johnson: 62.9
Democrat: none
Republican: Ron Kendall
Jeff Heppler, who has been on the board since 2002, is running for Sheriff.  Kendall is a staffer for state rep. Tom Barrett of Eaton County.  He beat Vince Carahaly, a moderate businessman, and Frank Brooks, a passionate Trump supporter, 39-35-26 in the primary.

District 7 [Comstock, Galesburg, Charleston, Climax, Wakeshma] Lean Republican
R12: 50.9 R14: 54.9 Romney: 50.6 Johnson: 59.3
Democrat: Pat Clark
Republican: Roger Tuinier*
Tuinier, who is a greenhouse owner, barely defeated Leroy Crabtree in 2012.  He beat David Burgess, a Comstock Township Trustee, in 2014.  Clark is a Climax Village Trustee.

District 8 [Pavillion, Brady, Schoolcraft, Prairie Ronde] Safe Republican
R12: 100 R14: 61 Romney: 55.1 Johnson: 63.5
Democrat: none
Republican: John Gisler*
Moderate Republican board chairman David Maturen (2002-2014) won the 63rd district state house seat in 2014.  Commissioner John Gisler, who was elected in 2010 but deferred to Maturen in the 2012 Republican primary due to redistricting, won in 2014.

District 9 [Texas, SE Oshtemo] Safe Republican
R12: 53.9 R14: 61.3 Romney: 51.7 Johnson: 62.5
Democrat: Emily Adams
Republican: Dale Shugars*
Shugars, a conservative former state senator (1994-2002) and state rep (1990-1994), won 72% to moderate Brian Kovacik's 28% in the 2014 primary, succeeding Brandt Iden.  He won a rematch 76-24 in the 2016 primary.

District 10 [W Portage] Tossup
R12: 52.8 R14: 49.6 Romney: 49.4 Johnson: 58.8
Democrat: Michael Quinn
Republican: Jerry Whitaker
Conservative Republican Phil Stinchcomb defeated democrat commissioner (2008-2010) Michael Quinn 56.4-43.6 in 2010.   Provancher was a democrat county commissioner representing central Portage 1995-2002.  He is retiring, and Quinn is running again. Whitaker was a Portage School Board member 1999-2004.

District 11 [E Portage] Likely Republican
R12: 52.5 R14: 54.2 Romney: 47.5 Johnson: 56.5
Democrat: Jason Foster
Republican: Scott McGraw*
McGraw succeed John Zull (2000-2014).  McGraw formerly worked for the Kalamazoo Homebuilders Association and is now Chairman of the Kalamazoo GOP.

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