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State Sen. Steve Bieda of Warren is ending his congressional campaign to seek election as the Macomb County clerk and register of deeds — a post vacated after a judge last month removed the embattled Clerk Karen Spranger from office.

Bieda had been running to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Sandy Levin, D-Royal Oak, in the U.S. House, but had fallen behind competitors in fundraising.

“It was not an easy decision to end my campaign for Congress. But I cannot stand by as our Clerk’s Office, which was once a model of efficiency and innovation for the entire state of Michigan, has been torn apart by corruption and scandal over the last two years,” Bieda said Monday in a statement.

“The Macomb County Clerk’s Office has an incredible staff that is highly dedicated to getting the job done. I want to help restore sensibility and integrity to the Office and help them make Macomb County a place they are proud of.”

Spranger, a Republican, was removed from office in March after a judge ruled that she had failed to meet the residency requirements necessary to serve in the post, ending a tenure marked by political turmoil, litigation and conflict.

Spranger was accused of falsifying her address ahead of her November 2016 election but has maintained that a Warren home was her legal residence. She filed a notice of appeal last week with the Michigan Court of Claims.

Macomb County Circuit Court judges are expected to appoint an interim clerk in May to serve until a replacement is elected in the fall.

Bieda, a two-term state senator who also served in the Michigan House, previously worked as director of labor relations for Warren.

Others running for the 9th District seat include Levin’s son, Andy Levin; former state Rep. Ellen Lipton of Huntington Woods and attorney Martin Brook of Bloomfield Township — all Democrats — and Republican Candius Stearns of Sterling Heights.

mburke@detroitnews.com

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