Oakland County: GOP incumbents top challengers in commission races

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Oakland County Commissioner Robert Hoffman defeated fellow Commissioner Eileen Kowall in Tuesday's Republican primary, while three other GOP incumbents prevailed against challengers.

Hoffman of Highland Township will face Democrat Kristin Watt of Holly in the November election, which will determine which party controls the county board, after defeating Kowall of White Lake Township 57% to 43%. Kowall was first elected in 2014.

The slim 11-10 Democratic majority on the Oakland County Board of Commissioners redrew the political boundaries after decades of dominance by the GOP on the county board, resulting in 19 districts.

Oakland County Commissioner Robert Hoffman

In the other races involving GOP incumbents: Michael Gingell of Lake Orion, first elected in 2006, won with 68% to 32% over challenger Heather Smiley of Lake Orion in District 6 and will face Democrat Sarah Pounds in the fall.

Christine Long of Commerce Township, first elected in 2002, won 60% to 40% over  Monica Yatooma of Commerce Township in District 12, where will face Democrat Mike Smith in the fall.

In the Republican primary in District 13, Commissioner Phil Weipert of South Lyon, first elected in 2010, won 59% to 41% over Connie Johnson of Milford and will face Democrat Jim Williams in the fall. 

The commission contests were among many on the ballot. Voters in 22 Oakland County communities were considering a variety of local issues Tuesday and choosing among primary candidates seeking November ballot slots.

In Addison Township, Republican Mary Frost won a trustee's spot in a three-candidate race and an assurance of election in November, since no Democrat filed to run. In Independence Township, Republican Jose Aliaga bested three other candidates in the race for supervisor and will be unopposed on the November ballot.

Oakland County Commissioner Eileen Kowall, R-White Lake

Voters in villages, cities and townships across the county considered local issues, with public safety and fire millages topping the list, followed by library decisions in seven communities. Other local proposals concern schools, streets, council pay, transportation services and marijuana sales.

In White Lake Township, police and fire millage renewals and a library millage passed easily.

Other ballot issues included:

South Lyon: A nearly $18.5 million improvement bond proposal over 10 years passed with 58% voting yes. 

Ortonville: An ordinance to permit a number of adult-use marijuana operations passed by a five-vote margin, according to complete unofficial returns.

Milford: A proposed village charter amendment was approved with 53% of voters giving a thumbs-up. It will pay each council member and president $50 per meeting to a maximum of $1,500 per year. Pay is currently $7.50 a month or $375 a year.

Royal Oak Township: Voters rejected a proposal that would have authorized an unlimited number of marijuana establishments on township parcels larger than five acres with a building continuously occupied for five years. The measure received a 64.1% no vote.

In nonpartisan contests, Judge Michelle Friedman Appel of Oak Park's 45th District Court defeated challengers Diana Lynn McClain and Brenda Richard, while Judge Kirsten Nielsen Hartig of Troy's 52-4 District Court received 41% of the vote in topping challengers Mike Bosnic and Tonya Clawson Goetz.