Tuesday, August 27, 2019

2020 Kalamazoo County Commission Races

This post was last updated May 11, 2020.

Democrats won a 8-3 majority on the Kalamazoo County Commission in 2018, which was a bad year for Republicans.  There are already three open seats this year.

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, 2014, 2016, and 2018, and Mitt Romney (2012), Donald Trump (2016) and Bill Schuette (2018) percentages.  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 R16: 19 R18: 17.8 Romney: 13.5 Trump: 14.9 Schuette: 14.1
Democrat: Tami Rey, Andrew Sellin
Republican: none
Stephanie Moore replaced Carolyn Alford in 2014 in this majority minority district.  Moore was a Kalamazoo city commissioner and has been convicted of several crimes over the years.  She allied with Republicans to make Dale Shugars the board chairman for one year and became chair for 2018 herself.  She is running for the 60th state house district in 2020.

District 2 [SE Kalamazoo] Safe Democrat
R12: 0 R14: 29.5 R16: 27.5 R18: 3.8 Romney: 28.1 Trump: 25.1 Schuette: 22.6
Democrat: Zachary Bauer*, Monteze Morales
Republican: none
Paul Haag replaced Kevin Wordelman, who retired in 2018.  He resigned in 2019, apparently because he never lived in the district.  Zachary Bauer was appointed as his replacement.  Monteze Morales, an education consultant, is challenging him in the D primary.

District 3 [SW Kalamazoo] Safe Democrat
R12: 31.1 R14: 32.3 R16: 29.7 R18: 26.4 Romney: 30.1 Trump: 28 Schuette: 25.4
Democrat: Tracy Hall*
Republican: none
Tracy Hall was elected in 2016, replacing John Taylor.  She announced a campaign for the 60th state house district, but later dropped out of the race.

District 4 [Kalamazoo Twp, Parchment] Safe Democrat
R12: 32.2 R14: 0 R16: 0 R18: 4.3 Romney: 31.7 Trump: 30 Schuette: 26.6
Democrat: Michael Seals*, Jen Strebs
Republican: Andrew Smith
Seals defeated fellow democrat commissioner (02-10) Franklin Thompson in 2010.  In 2018, he barely survived a primary challenge from Shequita Lewis, who was backed by Stephanie Moore.  Kalamazoo Township Board member Jen Strebs is challenging him in the D primary.

District 5 [Alamo, N Oshtemo, NW Kalamazoo Twp] Lean Democrat
R12: 44.3 R14: 44.7 R16: 43.7 R18: 39.8 Romney: 47.2 Trump: 45.8 Schuette: 42.7
Democrat: Veronica McKissack, Chris Pomeroy
Republican: Valarie Cunningham
Julie Rogers won this competitive seat in 2012, after losing two close races for the 61st state house district in 2006 and 2008.  She is running for the 60th state house district in 2020.  Social worker Veronica McKissack and union organizer Chris Pomeroy will compete for the D nomination to face R social work instructor Valarie Cunningham.

District 6 [Cooper, Richland, Ross] Likely Republican
R12: 54 R14: 100 R16: 77 R18: 95 Romney: 54.7 Trump: 56.4 Schuette: 52.2
Democrat: Jennifer Aniano*
Republican: Vince Carahaly, Jeff Heppler
Ron Kendall, a staffer for state rep. Tom Barrett (14-P) of Eaton County, was elected in 2016.  He resigned in 2019.  The D majority board appointed Aniano, who will run in 2020.  Heppler (02-16) was previously a commissioner who lost a race for sheriff.  Carahaly, a businessman, finished second to Kendall in the 2016 primary.

District 7 [Comstock, Galesburg, Charleston, Climax, Wakeshma] Likely Republican
R12: 50.9 R14: 54.9 R16: 56.8 R18: 94 Romney: 50.6 Trump: 56.7 Schuette: 50.6
Democrat: Anthony Bates
Republican: Roger Tuinier*
Tuinier, who is a greenhouse owner, barely defeated Leroy Crabtree in 2012.  He has won increasingly large margins in subsequent elections.

District 8 [Pavillion, Brady, Schoolcraft, Prairie Ronde] Safe Republican
R12: 100 R14: 61 R16: 100 R18: 59 Romney: 55.1 Trump: 60 Schuette: 54.6
Democrat: none
Republican: John Gisler*
Commissioner John Gisler was elected in 2010 but deferred to fellow commissioner (02-12) David Maturen in the 2012 Republican primary due to redistricting.  Gisler returned in 2014 when Maturen was elected to the state house.  Gisler defeated Kraig Lee, a union democrat in disguise, in the primary in 2018.

District 9 [Texas, SE Oshtemo] Tossup
R12: 53.9 R14: 61.3 R16: 54.6 R18: 48.3 Romney: 51.7 Trump: 47.6 Schuette: 45.2
Democrat: Keshia Dickason
Republican: Brian Kovacik, Dale Shugars
Christine Morse surprisingly defeated Dale Shugars, a conservative former state senator (94-02) and state rep (90-94), who was elected to the commission in 2014.  Shugars was board chairman in 2017 thanks to a deal with democrat Stephanie Moore.  Morse is running for the 61st state house district in 2020.  Shugars is running again, and faces sales consultant Brian Kovacik, who lost bids for this seat in 2014 and 2016.  The D nominee will be WMU employee Keshia Dickason.

District 10 [W Portage] Lean Democrat
R12: 52.8 R14: 49.6 R16: 49.8 R18: 45.2 Romney: 49.4 Trump: 45.2 Schuette: 41.8
Democrat: Michael Quinn*
Republican: Charley Coss
Quinn was a commissioner 2008-2010.  Following R Phil Stinchcomb (10-14) and D Larry Provancher (95-02, 14-16), Quinn returned in 2016.  Coss, a businessman, lost bids for county commission in district 3 in 2016 and Kalamazoo City Commission in 2017 before moving to Portage.

District 11 [E Portage] Tossup
R12: 52.5 R14: 54.2 R16: 52.5 R18: 45.6 Romney: 47.5 Trump: 46.9 Schuette: 43.4
Democrat: Fran Melgar
Republican: Lisa Brayton
Meredith Place, wife of former commissioner (02-16) and democrat party chairman John Taylor, defeated incumbent Scott McGraw, former Chairman of the Kalamazoo GOP.  She is leaving after one term to run for Kalamazoo County Clerk.  Lisa Brayton is a businesswoman.