Four GOP hopefuls battle to fill Macomb County state House seat

Leonard N. Fleming
The Detroit News

Four Republican candidates are battling for a vacant state House of Representatives seat in Macomb County's 36th District office in a special primary election scheduled for Tuesday.

In the heavily GOP area of Macomb County, the Republican candidates are touting their conservative credentials after former state Rep. Doug Wozniak, R-Shelby Township, won an election to the state Senate, creating the state House vacancy. The House District 36 represents Bruce Township, Shelby Township and part of Washington Township.

The Republican primary candidates are Terence Mekoski, 57, from Shelby Township; William Thompson, 34, of Bruce Township; Sylvia Grot, 50, of Shelby Township and Grant Golasa, 29, of Shelby Township.

From left, the Republican candidate for Michigan House District 36 are William Thompson, Sylvia Grot, Terence Mekoski and Grant Golasa.

Mekoski, who failed in his bid to become Macomb County sheriff in 2020, said he is running because he wants to ensure fair elections, which he said is the main issue people on the stump mention to him.

Mekoski said that in 2016 presidential election the Democrats didn't think the election was fair and the Republicans felt the same in 2020. "So we've got to get to the bottom of this," he said. "If there's issues, clean them up. If there's not issues, then we'll find out that there's not the issues that many people think."

He said he is also for small government and less regulation.

"I believe we need to bring integrity back to our politicians in our House seat over here in Macomb," Mekoski said. "I'm a conservative Christian. We need our votes to count."

Thompson, who ran unsuccessfully for trustee in Bruce Township in 2020, said he feels like "the Republicans of the past have continually sold us out and when these people get to Lansing you don't hear from them again." He wants to offer more representation to the people than previous office holders, he said.

Thompson said he represents traditional conservative values but he said he's not seeing office holders "push for those values" and that's what he plans to do if elected.

Grot could not be reached for comment. Her husband is Shelby Township Clerk Stan Grot, who filed in late December for the state House seat and then withdrew after the filing deadline. That allowed Sylvia Grot, a stay-at-home mother of four who filed paperwork before the Jan. 7 deadline, to run for the seat.

Stanley Grot told The Detroit News in mid-January that he withdrew "because my wife wanted to run." When asked if he had jumped in the race to clear Sylvia's path, he told The News there's "a lot of strategies in politics."

Grot has been endorsed by Wozniak and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. Her campaign website said she's against the so-called pension tax that state government levied against public pensions in 2011 and that she's pro life and pro 2nd Amendment.

Golasa could not be reached for comment.

The winner of the Republican primary will face Democrat Jim Diez, 56, of Shelby Township in a May 3 special general election. The retired automotive, defense, aviation and global supply chain executive is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

"I have had a very successful career in solving complex issues, negotiations, streamlining process and removing  bureaucracy," said Diez, who said he is pro-labor and pro-choice on abortion. "I believe these skills are needed in our current political arena."