Top Wayne County officials face competition in primary

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Wayne County voters next week will narrow the field for countywide offices, including clerk, register of deeds, sheriff, treasurer as well as eight seats on the county commission.

On Tuesday’s ballot, County Clerk Cathy Garrett is vying against Adam Salam Adamski, who unsuccessfully ran for county executive in 2014 and county clerk in 2012. Both are Democrats.

County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, a Democrat, is unopposed in her re-election bid. She’s served as prosecutor since being elected to the office in 2004.

Longtime Register of Deeds Bernard J. Youngblood will face off against Ricardo R. Moore, a Detroit police commissioner, and LaMar Lemmons, an at-large member of the Detroit Public Schools Board of Education. All three are Democrats.

Sheriff Benny Napoleon is running for re-election against Shelly L. Milton, a deputy Wayne County sheriff who works in the Third Circuit Court, and Dickie White. All three candidates are Democrats.

Treasurer Eric Sabree is being challenged by two other Democratic contenders, Beverly Kindle-Walker and Patrick E. O’Donnell.

Sabree was appointed treasurer in April, taking over for Richard Hathaway, who resigned after three months for personal reasons. Sabree joined the treasurer’s office in March 2011 after more than 11 years as an attorney for the county.

His appointment lasts until June 30, 2017. To remain in office beyond then, he has to win next week’s election.

He said his background and experience make him the best choice for county treasurer.

He also pointed out the office has been able to reduce the number of foreclosures in Wayne County this year 46 percent from last year and get more than 36,000 homeowners who are late on their taxes on payment plans.

Kindle-Walker, former neighborhood city hall manager, has run for county treasurer since 1996. Neither she nor O’Donnell could be reached for comment.

Seven Democratic county commissioners — Jewel Ware of Detroit, Ilona Varga of Lincoln Park, Alisha Bell of Detroit, Diane Webb of Livonia, Al Haidous of Wayne, Gary Woronchak of Dearborn and Ray Basham of Taylor — are running unopposed for re-election in their districts — 2, 4, 7, 8, 11, 13 and 14.

Eight incumbents face challenges. Commissioners serve 2-year terms.

One of the more interesting races in Wayne County is the contest for Third Circuit judge.

There are 22 candidates for four seats on the bench and each term is six years. One of the most recognizable names on the ballot in the race is former Wayne County Executive Bob Ficano.

Ficano lost his re-election bid to be the county’s CEO amid a federal corruption probe. He was never charged, but several aides were.

The allegations of corruption and a series of scandals torpedoed his attempt to win a fourth, four-year term as executive.

An attorney since the 1970s, Ficano also served as Wayne County Sheriff from 1983 to 2003.

“I believe my qualifications are enhanced by the two law firms I worked for prior to being sheriff,” he said.

He worked at Wilson, Deremo & Raymond and Bokos, Jones & Plakas.

Ficano is practicing law and teaching constitutional law at Wayne County Community College District.

Several communities — Brownstown Township, Canton, Detroit, Grosse Ile, Huron Township, Northville, Plymouth, Redford Township, Sumpter Township and Van Buren Township — have elections for municipal offices.

Voters will also be asked whether to renew a millage to pay for operations of the Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak.

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Contested commission primaries

Voters will choose one candidate from each party in each district.

District 1: Incumbent Tim Killeen, D-Detroit; Democrat DaRell Andre Reed ; Republicans Jermain Lee Jones and John Steininger.

District 2: Incumbent Jewel Ware, D-Detroit; Democrats Willie Burton, Kikora Elcock and Michael Cyril Gardner Sr.

District 3: Incumbent Martha Scott, D-Highland Park; Democrats LaMar Lemmons, R.L. Lemmons and Hamtramck Councilman Anam Miah.

District 4: Incumbent Ilona Varga, D-Lincoln Park, and Democrat Tyrone Carter of Detroit.

District 5: Incumbent Irma Clark-Coleman, D-Detroit; Democrats Benjamin Bowman and Michelle Broughton.

District 6: Incumbent Burton Leland, D-Detroit; Democrats Carl Baxter, Alvin Bowman and Monique Baker McCormick.

District 8: Incumbent Diane Webb, D-Livonia and Democrat Mary Cavanagh of Redford.

District 9: Incumbent Terry Marecki, R-Livonia; Republican Thomas Berry; and Democrat Patrick Crandell.

District 10: Incumbent Joe Barone, R-Plymouth; Democrat Nate Smith-Tyge of Canton.

District 12: Incumbent Glenn Anderson, D-Westland; Democrat Susan Mason.

District 15: Incumbent Joe Palamara, D-Grosse Ile; Trenton Democrat Patricia Hartig; and Ecorse Republican Patrick O’Connell.

Source: Wayne County Clerk’s Office