Wednesday, July 31, 2019

2019 Kalamazoo Election Preview

This article was last updated September 20, 2019.

This is a preview of the November 5 elections in Kalamazoo County.

Kalamazoo City Commission

The mayor and three seats on the Kalamazoo City Commission are up for election. The seven commissioners are Mayor Bobby Hopewell (on since 2003), Don Cooney (1997), David Anderson (2005), Patrese Griffin (2019), Erin Knott (2015), Jack Urban (2013), and Eric Cunningham (2017).

In 2014, Kalamazoo voters passed a charter amendment changing the charter by electing the mayor separately and implementing staggered four-year terms for the other seats (similar to the system Portage uses).  In 2015, Cooney, Anderson, and Sykes got four-year terms.  The other three seats were up in 2017.

Hopewell, who has been mayor since 2007, will not run again.  Anderson, a center-left democrat, is running for mayor, and is likely the favorite.  He has the support of Hopewell and the local D party.  David Benac, a Bernie Sanders fan who ran for Congress in 2018, has the support of many progressive groups.  Corey Smith and Esteven Juarez, who is endorsed by Cooney, are also running.

Cooney is not running for reelection after 22 years on the commission.  Patrese Griffin is running for election after being appointed to replace Shannon Sykes, who resigned.

Also running are Pete Kushner, Andrew Argo, Jacob Andrews, Jeanne Hess, Emily Demorest, Chris J. Praedel, and Benjamin Hayden Stanley.  The Kalamazoo Ds are supporting Andrews, Griffin, and Praedel.

Portage City Council

The mayor and three seats on the Portage City Council are up for election.  Patricia Randall was elected mayor in 2017 after serving on the council since 2009.  She is unopposed for reelection.

The other councilmembers are Terry Urban (1997), Claudette Reid (2005), Jim Pearson (2011), Richard Ford (2013), Lori Knapp (2017), and Chris Burns (2017).  In recent years, the council has been divided between two factions.  One faction includes Reid and Urban.  The other has been Randall, Pearson, and Ford.

The three seats up for election are held Pearson, Burns, and Ford. They are unopposed for reelection.