Editorial: Our primary picks for Oakland County
Voters in Oakland County only face contested County Commission races in less than half the districts. In most cases, the incumbents should have no problem getting re-elected to their two-year terms. There are two contested county-wide seats.
Oakland County commissioners
District 2 (Village of Holly, and the townships of Groveland, Highland, Holly, Springfield and Rose): Republican incumbent Bob Hoffman of Highland is seeking a fourth term. He should get it, given his record of service and his business background. He is facing two GOP challengers. The Democratic side is uncontested.
District 5 (Keego Harbor, Village of Orchard Lake, Sylvan Lake with a portion of Waterford Township and West Bloomfield Township): This is the most contested race, now that seven-term Republican John Scott of Waterford isn’t running again. Five Republicans are facing off and several of them boast impressive resumes, including S. Bobby Jasti, a commercial banker from West Bloomfield Township. But Tom Berman, an attorney from Keego Harbor, gets our support. He has served on the City Council, and seems like he would bring a fresh perspective to the commission. Two Democrats are running, and Julia Pulver, a nurse from West Bloomfield Township, is the best choice.
District 7 (Commerce Township, West Bloomfield Township, Walled Lake and the Village of Wolverine Lake): Republican incumbent Christine Long of Commerce Township seeks an eighth term as a commissioner. And Long, who owns a family orchard and farm and is a registered nurse, should get it. The Democratic side is uncontested.
District 10 (Pontiac): Two Republicans are hoping to challenge first-term Democratic incumbent David Bowman this fall. But neither David Foster nor Terry Haines returned our questionnaire so we are withholding an endorsement in this race. Bowman is uncontested.
District 12 (Bloomfield Township, Bloomfield Hills and Birmingham): Republican incumbent Shelley Goodman Taub of Bloomfield Hills seeks a fifth term and is our top choice. She has a background in medical management and has experience in the Legislature. Chuck Moss of Birmingham is challenging her. Democrat Charles Gaba of Bloomfield Hills is running unopposed.
District 13 (West Bloomfield Township, Bloomfield Township and Farmington Hills): Two Republicans are running in a bid to replace six-term incumbent Democrat Marcia Gershenson of Bloomfield Hills. Neither candidate is likely to succeed, but Max Rohtbart of West Bloomfield Township gets our vote, even though he doesn’t have much life experience yet. A student at Oakland University, Rohtbart is involved in local politics. Gershenson is unopposed in the primary.
District 17 (Southfield, Lathrup Village and Oak Park): Democrat Nancy Quarles of Southfield seeks another term, and she’s running unopposed. Two Republicans are squaring off, and our choice is Regina Brim of Lathrup Village, a long-time school librarian and teacher, who has a good grasp of the issues. She faces David Cuttner of Southfield.
District 20 (Madison Heights, Pleasant Ridge, Troy and Royal Oak): Republicans David Harrell of Troy and J. Karl Jackson of Madison Heights are running. Since neither candidate returned our questionnaire, we are withholding an endorsement. Plus, incumbent Democrat Gary McGillivray of Madison Heights is unlikely to get unseated.
Oakland County executive
Democrat Vicki Barnett of Farmington Hills, a former state representative, city council member and mayor, is running to unseat longtime County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. Barnett is our choice as she is best suited to go up against Patterson in November. He’s held office for 24 years, and is running unopposed in the primary. Barnett faces Mark Danowski of Davisburg.
Oakland County clerk
Two Republicans are looking to unseat incumbent Democrat Lisa Brown of West Bloomfield Township. Both candidates could do the job well. In fact, Bill Bullard Jr. of Highland Township served in the role previously, when he was appointed by the Oakland County Circuit Court to finish the rest of Ruth Johnson’s term when she was elected secretary of state in 2010. But our nod goes to Rochester Hills clerk Tina Barton of Royal Oak, who brings a strong record and good ideas. Brown is facing a challenge from Michael Smith of Union Lake, who is deputy city clerk for Clawson. Brown gets our support.