Oakland County Treasurer Meisner to run for executive
Correction: This story has been updated to correct the annual salary of Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson.
Ferndale — Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner has scheduled a news conference for Tuesday to announce his plan to run for county executive.
A news release said Meisner planned a major announcement at the Ferndale Rust Belt Market about the future of Oakland County. When reached Monday by The News, Meisner hedged on its purpose but stressed “tomorrow’s announcement should be no surprise to anyone.”
“I’ll have more to say Tuesday,” said Meisner, who has made no secret he covets the county’s top job, either by running against longtime Republican officeholder L. Brooks Patterson or another Republican should Patterson decide not to seek re-election.
Patterson, who turned 80 last month, is in his seventh term in the $201,193-a year job. The county’s outspoken former prosecuting attorney — colorful and often controversial — plans to announce whether he wants another term at his next State of the County address in February 2020. He could not be reached for comment Monday.
While not as well-known, Meisner was a state representative from 2003-09, when he became county treasurer. In his 10 years in the job, Meisner has worked for foreclosure prevention and set up programs to help thousands of financially-strapped families meet their delinquent taxes and overdue mortgage payments.
Commissioner David Woodward, D-Royal Oak, who became chairman of the Oakland County Board of Commissioners this year, implied he was not happy fielding questions about Meisner’s political chances.
“There are others interested in that (county executive) job, including me,” said Woodward, the first Democrat to chair the county board in 42 years. “I would like it but I’m not formally announcing anything — at this time.
“But we have a lot of work to focus on right now in 2019, not the 2020 election,” said Woodward. “I might have something to say soon. I can promise you that you can expect a very spirited primary.”
The deadline to file for county offices for the 2020 election is April of next year.
A Democratic primary for county executive is expected to attract other hopefuls who see 2020 as the year to remove Patterson, who has had a stranglehold on the job since 1993.
It is also unclear what Republicans might step up should Patterson decided not to run. Several GOP names, both those serving elected jobs in the county and suburbs, have surfaced but none have announced intentions.
Oakland County, traditionally a Republican stronghold, has been trending Democratic in the past couple of elections. Hillary Clinton carried the county in the 2016 presidential race, as did Gretchen Whitmer in last fall's gubernatorial race.
Patterson and Michael Bouchard, the county sheriff, are the only Republicans to hold countywide elected seats. The other countywide officeholders are Meisner and fellow Democrats County Clerk Lisa Brown, County Water Resources Commissioner James Nash and County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper.