Tuesday, May 11, 2021

2021 Kalamazoo Election Preview

This article was last updated October 26, 2021.

This is a preview of the November 2 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 David Anderson (on since 2005, mayor since 2019), Patrese Griffin (2019), Erin Knott (2015), Jack Urban (2013), Eric Cunningham (2017), Jeanne Hess (2019), and Chris Praedel (2019).

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 2019, Griffin, Hess, and Praedel got four-year terms.  The other three seats were up in 2017.

Mayor Anderson, a center-left democrat, will run for reelection.  He defeated David Benac, a Bernie Sanders fan, in 2019.  Commissioner/Vice Mayor Patrese Griffin announced for mayor, and resigned to run.  However, due to a campaign finance error, she could appear on the ballot and dropped out.  Benjamin Stanley is also running for mayor.

Cunningham, Knott, and Urban will not run again.  Former commissioner Don Cooney (1997-2019), a Bernie-style leftist, is seeking to return to the commission.  Other candidates include community organizer Marshall Kilgore, Alphonso Harris, Qianna Decker, Steven Chandler, Stephanie Hoffman, activist Esteven Juarez (who ran for mayor in 2019), and James Mitchell.

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 this year, as she was in 2019.

The other councilmembers are Terry Urban (1997), Claudette Reid (2005), Jim Pearson (2011), Lori Knapp (2017), Chris Burns (2017), and Vic Ledbetter (2020).  Vic Ledbetter filled a seat vacated by the resignation of Richard Ford.

The three seats up for 4-year terms are held by Urban, Reid, and Knapp.  Reid is retiring.  Urban and Ledbetter are running for these seats.  Also running is Lisa Brayton, a Republican who lost a close race for county commission in 2020.

There will be an election for a 2-year term for the seat held by Vic Ledbetter.  The candidates are Lori Knapp and Tara Gish.

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