Oakland: Dems keep prosecutor's office as McDonald wins

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Karen McDonald defeated Republican Lin Goetz in the race for Oakland County prosecutor, keeping the office in Democratic hands.

With all 506 precincts reporting, McDonald had 56.9% of the vote to 43% for Goetz in the race, which was one of several county offices and ballot issues being decided.

Taylor, 20, (foreground), and her mom Tiffany, (didn't want to give their last names) of Oak Park, wait in line at the Oak Park Community Center to cast their votes this morning.

McDonald, who defeated longtime Prosecutor Jessica Cooper in the August Democratic primary, will take over an office that employs a staff of 170 and has a $23 million budget.

McDonald is a former judge and worked as an assistant Oakland County prosecutor from 1999 to 2004, leaving four years before Cooper took office. McDonald was elected to the Oakland County circuit bench in 2012, re-elected in 2018, and resigned in April 2019 to run for prosecutor.

Goetz is a Lake Orion attorney with 28 years of experience in criminal law both as an assistant prosecutor and a defense attorney.

McDonald promised during the campaign to work to revamp the cash bail system, which she says unfairly punishes poor defendants.

During the primary campaign, Goetz said her goals included improving communication from the prosecutor’s office, boosting staff morale and enhancing training of assistant prosecutors. She also said she would add a public integrity unit “to ensure victims know the right individual is in custody for the crime that harmed them and increasing efficiency.”

Karen McDonald, left, and Lin Goetz, right.

In other county races:

►Sheriff: Incumbent Michael Bouchard, a Republican who has been in office since 1999, defeated Democrat Vincent Gregory, a former state lawmaker, Oakland County commissioner and Wayne County sheriff's detective, with 54.3% of the vote.

►County clerk: Democratic incumbent Lisa Brown turned back a challenge from Republican Tina Barton, receiving nearly 56% of the vote.

►Treasurer: Democratic state Rep. Robert Wittenberg defeated challenger Republican Joe Kent, 53.8% to 46.1%. Wittenberg will succeed outgoing treasurer Andy Meisner, who ran for county executive in the primary.

►Water resources commissioner: Incumbent Democrat Jim Nash topped Republican Jim Stevens with 56.7% of the vote.

Ballot issues included Birmingham’s $11.2 million bond issue to renovate parks and the Birmingham Ice Sports Arena and a Lake Orion proposal to allow marijuana facilities. 

In final, unofficial returns, 70% of voters approved the Birmingham bond issue. Proceeds will be used to improve several parks, playgrounds, the Rouge River trail system, "and additional amenities including potentially a pickleball court and splash pad," according to the city's website. 

"In addition, projects may include capital improvement upgrades within our parks system, such as an expanded irrigation system at Springdale Golf Course and new locker and meeting rooms at the Birmingham Ice Arena," the city's website said.

Lake Orion's proposal passed with 65.3% of voters approving. It will establish standards and procedures to permit and regulate the businesses, allow the village to impose permit application fees, and provide penalties for violations.

ghunter@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2134

Twitter: @GeorgeHunter_DN