By Michele Bourdieu
EAGLE RIVER -- Most voters in Keweenaw County did not necessarily agree with the rest of Michigan on national and state winners in the Nov. 6 election. As for local candidates, with a few exceptions, they tended to choose incumbents in the contested races.
Voters in every one of the five Keweenaw County townships supported Mitt Romney (with a county total of 774 votes) rather than Barack Obama (582 votes). However, Keweenaw County voters chose to re-elect Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow (county total: 694 votes) with a margin of less than 100 votes. Her challenger, Republican Pete Hoekstra, received a total of 628 votes in the county. Four townships went for Stabenow with Houghton Township giving an even 36 votes to each of these two candidates for U.S. Senator.
In the race for First District U.S. Representative in Congress, Keweenaw County (every township) chose the winning incumbent, Republican Dan Benishek (county total of 724 votes) over his Democratic challenger, Gary McDowell (583 votes, total). Green Party candidate Ellis Boal received a county total of 18 votes, while 32 county votes went to Libertarian Emily Salvette.
While Calumet's own Scott Dianda won the 110th District State Representative seat over incumbent Matt Huuki in other parts of the District, making him the winner, Keweenaw County gave Huuki 6 more votes than Dianda. The townships showed differences in this race: Eagle Harbor and Grant townships went for Dianda, while Allouez, Houghton and Sherman townships gave a few more votes each to Huuki. The county totals were Huuki, 691, and Dianda, 685.
Contested local seats in Keweenaw County included County Commissioner for District 1 and two seats on the Keweenaw County Road Commission.
In a close race for the District 1 (Eagle Harbor and Grant townships) County Commissioner seat, Democratic incumbent Don Piche (with 222 votes) defeated Republican challenger and former County Commissioner Don Keith (207 votes). While Eagle Harbor Township gave Keith 137 votes to Piche's 107, Grant Township supported Piche with 115 votes to Keith's 70. The other county commissioners ran unopposed.
For the Keweenaw County Road Commission 6-year term, Republican John G. Karvonen (805 votes) defeated Democrat Ernest J. Mooney (542 votes). In the partial-term Road Commission election, Democrat Gordon Jaaskelainen kept his seat with 797 votes over Edwin Tulppo (no Party affiliation), who received 416 votes.
Incumbents in other county offices were unopposed.
In Township races, Republican challenger Rich Probst, Jr., unseated Eagle Harbor Township Supervisor Ed Kisiel (no Party affiliation) by a vote of 201 to 41.
Grant Township Supervisor, Republican Ken Stigers, kept his seat by defeating Democratic challenger Alex Protzel (119 to 69 votes).
Grant Township voters also showed support for the Copper Harbor School by approving a 5.2 mill renewal with a vote of 152 to 29. County voters also voted "yes" for a 15 mill renewal for Keweenaw County Police Protection, by a vote of 920 to 342.
In tiny Sherman Township, from a roster of six candidates, the two incumbent trustees were re-elected: Republican Robert Strykowski (39 votes) and Democrat Deneen Connell (30 votes).
In the non-partisan election for Justices of the Michigan Supreme Court, Keweenaw County voters chose two of the actual winners. For the two full-term seats, they gave the most votes (467) to Stephen Markman, who did win one seat, and to Connie Marie Kelley (399 votes), who did not. County voters gave 371 votes to Colleen O'Brien and 360 to Bridget Mary McCormack, who won a full-term seat (with the largest number of votes statewide). In the partial-term Supreme Court election, Keweenaw County agreed with the statewide choice of Brian Zahra, giving him 498 votes.
On the six statewide proposals, Keweenaw County voters reflected the statewide vote -- voting more "no" than "yes" on all six.
Of Keweenaw County's 1,939 registered voters, a total of 1,411 (73 percent) voted in the Nov. 6, 2012, election. In the five townships, Eagle Harbor Township had the highest percentage voting -- 95 percent of those registered. Sherman Township was second with 83 percent; Grant Township was third with 81 percent; in Houghton Township 79 percent voted; and in Allouez Township, which has the highest number registered (1,269 voters), only 66 percent of them voted.
The above results have been confirmed as accurate by the canvassers.
For more details on Keweenaw County election results, visit the Keweenaw County Web site or click here for uppermichigansource.com election results.