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Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter has scheduled a news conference Thursday to discuss his "future plans."

A  spokesman for Oakland County's top elected official would not "confirm or deny" that the announcement is about Coulter possibly seeking election to a full term in the office he was appointed to after the Aug. 3 death of longtime County Executive L. Brooks Patterson.

Coulter, 59, was appointed Aug. 16 by the Board of Commissioners following a contentious battle between Oakland County Democrats and Republicans over who would replace Patterson, a Republican whose term expires in December 2020.

Coulter, a Democrat, served as mayor of Ferndale from 2011 until being named to the executive's post. Coulter has been described by former Ferndale councilwoman Melanie Piana as "very thoughtful, deliberate and forward-thinking."

Before becoming county executive, Coulter had planned to run for state representative in 2020. 

The executive's race in is expected to attract a wide field of candidates.

Two Democrats, Board of Commissioners Chairman Dave Woodward and county Treasurer Andy Meisner, have expressed interest in running for executive. Potential Republican candidates include Sheriff Michael Bouchard, Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett, former U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop of Rochester and former state Sen. Mike Kowall of White Lake. 

Political analysts said Coulter would be a strong candidate.

 "It is a near certainty that (Coulter)  will run for executive after recruiting high-level staff, generating positive headlines and even conducting a county-wide listening tour over the last few months," said John Sellek, who owns the public relations firm Harbor Strategic and worked as a campaign strategist for Republican former Attorney General Bill Schuette.

Political consultant Mario Morrow, who founded the public relations firm Mario Morrow & Associates, said Coulter has done an "outstanding job" and "is definitely showing he's a real leader" by meeting with regional leaders.

"He's doing all the right things to position himself properly for this election," said Morrow, adding that he thinks the executive's race will feature a crowded, diverse field of candidates.

Coulter has scheduled a press conference for 11:45 a.m. at Brass Aluminum Forging Enterprises in Ferndale.

"We are saving all details until tomorrow," Peter Van Dyke, a spokesman for Coulter, said Wednesday.

Coulter is expected to be introduced by Jeff Denha, the chief operations officer of Brass Aluminum Forging, according to a news press release. Denha was a member of Coulter's Business Council in Ferndale when he was mayor.

"The Business Council was created by Coulter when he was mayor of Ferndale to make the city more responsive to industrial and large businesses," the release said. "As a result of these and other efforts, Ferndale’s industrial vacancy rate went down, taxes were lowered, and the City of Ferndale’s bond rating improved three steps."

Oakland County has 1.2 million residents and an annual budget of nearly $1 billion.

bwilliams@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2027

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