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Saturday, August 11, 2018

Guest article: Local Democrats hopeful with strong candidates for November election

By Brian Rendel *

Democrats have every reason to feel great about the coming November election. There are several signs that suggest the surge in public engagement following the 2016 election reflects ongoing commitment to involvement in our political process.

A slate of candidates to be proud of, including three amazing women, have stepped forward to empower our County Board with fresh, capable leadership.**

To get in November’s ballot, congressional candidate Matt Morgan needed about 4000 Democrats in Michigan’s 1st Congressional District to write in his name following a partisan decision over a technicality to reject his filing petition. Not only was the goal reached, but it was significantly exceeded. Well over 30,000 Democrats wrote in "Matt Morgan" despite voters getting the extra challenge of having to print small with big-tipped Sharpies. This impressive feat reflects both Matt’s organization skills and a level of passion from Democrats that we haven’t seen in some time.

Ken Summers, our candidate for the State House, has knocked more doors, walked more miles, and probably met more constituents than anyone in Michigan running for office this year, exponentially outworking and out-fundraising his opponents. Nobody is more ready to take over Scott’s work representing the 110th.***

Scott Dianda nearly matched the number of primary votes of the combined GOP candidates in the 38th State Senate District. Given Scott’s regional popularity and history of also earning some cross-over votes in general elections, this is a strong indicator that Democrats can take back this seat this fall.

There are many reasons for hope, including two wonderful State Supreme Court candidates -- Megan Cavanagh and Samuel Bagenstos -- who will bring Democratic Values back to the Court; the super-qualified candidates for Secretary of State (our friend Jocelyn Benson who literally wrote the book on the position); Attorney General (Dana Nessel, the fierce public advocate); and our friend Sen. Debbie Stabenow (whose Democratic votes blew away all the GOP primary votes combined this week).

In the most exciting primary race for governor in a long time, three strong leaders emerged, who attracted the votes of over a million passionate Democrats. Minutes after it was clear Gretchen Whitmer had won over half those votes, both Shri and Abdul strongly endorsed her and pledged to her their full support toward victory in November. She is a leader who has served the people for many years and is a leader we can proud to unite behind.

With turnout beating records going back to 1978, this is an exciting year to be an active Democrat, advancing people-focused ideals our country was founded to honor.

Inset photo: Brian Rendel. (Photo courtesy Brian Rendel)

Editor's Notes:

* Guest author Brian Rendel is vice chair of communications for the Houghton County Democratic Party.

** The three women candidates for the Houghton County Board of Commissioners are Melissa Davis, District 2; Gretchen Janssen, District 4; and Sharon A. Stoll, District 5.

*** Scott Dianda, presently 110th District State Representative, is running for the 38th District State Senate seat, soon to be vacated by Tom Casperson.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Houghton, Keweenaw counties report Aug. 7 Primary results

By Michele Bourdieu

During the Houghton County Democratic Party HCDP Spring Fling last May, Valorie Troesch, right, HCDP vice chair of Political Organizing and Candidate Recruitment, introduces the party's new candidates for Houghton County Commissioner, who all spoke at the Spring Fling event and ran in the Aug. 7 Primary Election. Pictured, from left, are Sharon A. Stoll, District 5; Melissa Davis, District 2; and Glenn Anderson, District 3. Not pictured is Gretchen Janssen, District 4, who spoke to the audience via Skype while traveling. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

HOUGHTON, EAGLE RIVER, Mich. -- Houghton and Keweenaw County clerks -- Houghton County's Jennifer Lorenz and Keweenaw's Julie Carlson -- have been working very hard to finalize the Aug. 7 Michigan Primary results after working on canvassing following the election.

As reported to Keweenaw Now by Lorenz and Carlson, here are the unofficial results for Houghton County (to be updated soon if necessary) and official (post-canvassing) results for Keweenaw County. Our numbers are for the Democratic and Republican party candidates only.

Whitmer, Schuette take most votes for Governor

Houghton County totals include the City of Hancock, City of Houghton, and these townships: Adams, Calumet, Chassell, Duncan, Elm River, Franklin, Hancock, Laird, Osceola, Portage, Quincy, Schoolcraft, Stanton, and Torch Lake.

Houghton County Democratic votes for Governor totaled 1,675 for Gretchen Whitmer, 902 for Abdul El-Sayed, 649 for Shri Thanedar, and 8 write-ins.

Houghton County Republican votes for Governor totaled 1,683 for Bill Schuette, 612 for Patrick Colbeck, 440 for Jim Hines, 431 for Brian Calley, and 4 write-ins.

Keweenaw County totals include the 5 townships: Allouez, Eagle Harbor, Grant, Houghton and Sherman.

Keweenaw County Democratic voters gave Whitmer 193 votes, El-Sayed 81 and Thanedar 73. In the Republican Primary Governor's race Keweenaw County reports 225 for Schuette, 65 for Calley, 65 for Colbeck and 61for Hines.

U.S. Senate race: Houghton County shows strong support for Sen. Debbie Stabenow

In the U.S. Senator election, Houghton County Democratic voters showed their support for incumbent Senator Debbie Stabenow, who ran unopposed in the Primary, by giving her a total of 3,104 votes. Houghton County Democratic totals for this seat included 21 write-ins.

Stabenow will likely be opposed in November by Republican primary candidate John James, who defeated his Republican primary opponent, Sandy Pensler. In Houghton County James received 1,882 votes and Pensler 1,091. Totals included 5 write-ins.

In Keweenaw County, Stabenow received 328 Democratic votes. In the Republican U.S. Senate primary, James received 233 votes and Pensler 158.

District 1 U.S. Representative in Congress: Morgan to challenge Rep. Bergman in November

Houghton County: Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman, who also ran unopposed, received 2,901 Republican votes. 13 Republican write-ins showed some opposition.

The only Democratic candidate for this seat, Matt Morgan, whose name was not on the ballot because of a clerical error, managed to receive enough write-in votes to run in November against Bergman. Houghton County Democratic voters gave Morgan 1,478 write-in votes. TV 6 stated, "According to Morgan's campaign, unofficial vote counts from 20 counties in the 32-county district indicate there were 20,000-plus write-in votes cast in the Democratic race for Congress."

Keweenaw County: Bergman 374 votes and Morgan 123. (According to Carlson the only Keweenaw County write-in votes that could be counted were those for Morgan.)

38th District Michigan State Senate: Dianda to face McBroom

Democrat Scott Dianda, presently 110th District Michigan representative, ran unopposed for the 38th District Michigan Senate seat (now held by Tom Casperson). Dianda received 3,178 Democratic Primary votes in Houghton County. 14 write-ins were included in the totals.

Republican Ed McBroom received 1,921 Houghton County Republican Primary votes for this 38th District Senate seat, while his opponent, Mike Carey, received 1,110. 7 write-ins were also received. McBroom defeated Carey in the 38th District, which covers 12 of the Upper Peninsula's 15 counties.

In Keweenaw County Democrat Dianda received 350 votes and Republicans McBroom and Carey received 230 and 175 respectively.

District 110 State Representative race

In the contest for Michigan District 110 Representative, Ken Summers ran unopposed on the Democratic side, receiving 2,959 Houghton County votes. Write-ins were 14.

Four Republicans contested the District 110 seat: Brady J. Tervo, who received 1,129 Houghton County votes; Gregory Markkanen, 983; Kirk R. Schott, 459; and Keith LaCosse, 396. So far it is not clear which of them might run against Summers in November. 3 write-ins were noted.

In Keweenaw County 311 votes went to Democrat Summers, while Republican Markkanen received 166 votes, Tervo 130, LaCosse 55 and Schott 38.

According to TV6/ Upper Peninsula Source as of Thursday afternoon (today, Aug. 9), "Unofficial results from the August Republican primary show Greg Markkanen at just 24 votes ahead of Kirk Schott in the race for the Western U.P.’s 110th State House District. The district includes voters from seven counties. An official vote total may not be released until the end of August."*

Houghton County Commissioners race: effect of write-ins

New Democratic candidates in the Houghton County Commissioners race were opposed by Republican write-ins, making at least two of the 5 positions more contested than anticipated. 

In the Houghton County Commissioner race, the following Republicans received primary votes:
District 1 (Calumet and Hancock townships): Tom Tikkanen, unopposed, received 575 votes. (9 write-ins)
District 2 (Franklin Township, Osceola Township, Quincy Township, Schoolcraft Township and Torch Lake Township): Albert Koskela, unopposed, received 637 votes. (5 write-ins)
District 3 (City of Hancock and Adams Township) (56 write-ins)
District 4 (City of Houghton) (47 write-ins)
District 5 (Chassell, Duncan, Elm River, Laird, Portage and Stanton townships): Roy Britz received 574 Republican votes, and Tim Palosaari 435. (4 write-ins)

Democratic candidates for Houghton County Commissioner received the following primary votes:

District 1: (35 write-ins)
District 2: Melissa Davis, unopposed, received 622 votes. (2 write-ins)
District 3: Glenn Anderson, unopposed, received 588 votes. (11 write-ins)
District 4: Gretchen Janssen, unopposed, received 524 votes. (3 write-ins)
District 5: Sharon A. Stoll, unopposed, received 626 votes. (1 write-in)

While the Democratic candidates were unopposed by other Democrats, Republican write-ins have made the District 3 and District 4 races contested for November. Republican write-in Ben Jaehnig received 22 votes for District 3 and Republican John Sullivan received 34 write-in votes for District 4. They needed only 12 write-in votes to be eligible for the November ballot. 

Valorie Troesch of the Houghton County Democratic Party, who worked with the Democratic candidates, encouraging them to run for the County Commission, commented on the primary election results, noting the effect of the write-ins.

"Houghton County Democrats are optimistic about a projected blue wave in November, but we are taking nothing for granted," Troesch told Keweenaw Now. "We are gratified at the turnout in the primary, especially the write-in support for Matt Morgan. It far exceeded our goals and expectations. HCDP (Houghton County Democratic Party) has 4 candidates running for County Commissioner in November. It turns out that all four of these races are contested owing to two write-in Republican candidates in Districts 3 and 4 who will now also appear on the November ballot in addition to the two Republicans who already filed. Each of the four Democratic candidates is working hard to let voters know who they are and how they would serve their constituents if elected. Their goal is to knock on every door before the election. They are also looking for persons willing to host lawn signs in their districts, especially in highly visible locations. If anyone is interested, contact Valorie Troesch at"

Keweenaw County Road Commission contested race

In Keweenaw County, the only local contested primary race, according to Carlson, was the Road Commission.

Kevin Gherna received 306 Democratic votes; Republican Richard R. Olson received 246, defeating Republican John Glenn Karvonen, who had 194 votes.

Proposals receive affirmative votes

In both counties proposals on the ballots passed with a majority of yes votes.

Houghton County Proposals for Veterans' Services, Adams Township School District Bonding Proposal, CLK Public Schools Bonding Proposal, Hancock Public Schools Sinking Fund, and Laird Township millage of 1 mill over 2 years for a new roof and siding for the Nisula Church all passed with "Yes" votes in the majority.

Keweenaw County Proposals for County Allocation, County Veterans, Allouez Township Fire Protection, Eagle Harbor Township Emergency Services, Houghton Township Operating, and CLK School Bond all passed.

* Editor's Note: Click here for details on the 110th District State Representative race.