County Seat Newspaper
of Clare County

Ballots, Candidates Ready for Aug. 4 Primary

It Always Matters… Get Out and Vote!


HARRISON – As always, the upcoming Nov. 3 General Election race for U.S. President is capturing a great deal of the nation’s attention – and even more so in light of the strain on citizens and the economy brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, the business of government goes on, and it is at the local level where the day-to-day concerns of those citizens are directly addressed. Thus, Clare County residents will be choosing among multiple candidates when they head to the polls for the Aug. 4 Primary Election. Countywide, the ballot includes candidates listed as Republican [R], Democrat [D], and No Party Affiliation. In addition to the national and state offices of U.S. senator and representative, and state senator and representative, voters will be selecting prosecuting attorney, sheriff, clerk/register of deeds, treasurer, drain commissioner and road commissioner.

The following candidates and the offices for which they are running are listed on the sample ballots posted on the county’s website: These individuals include only those who have declared themselves as either Democrat or Republican. Others who are undeclared and not participating in this primary may be running as Independent or write-in candidates in the General Election in November.

U.S. Senator Gary Peters [D] will face John James [R], and 4th District U.S. Representative John Moolenaar [R] will face Anthony D. Feig [C] and Jerry Hilliard [D]. Vying for the 97th District state representative seat are Jason Wentworth [R], Shane Atwell [D] and Celia Young-Wenkel [D].

Running unopposed for Clare County offices are incumbents Sheriff John S. Wilson [R], Clerk/Register of Deeds Lori Martin [R], Prosecuting Attorney Michelle Ambrozaitis [R], and Treasurer Jenny Beemer-Fritzinger [D].

Also running unopposed are Clare County Commissioners Dale Majewski [D] District 1; Samantha Pitchford [R] District 2; and Jeff Haskell [R] District 7. Running unopposed for the District 5 seat on the primary ballot is former commissioner Sandra Bristol [D].

Two incumbent county commissioners have chosen not to run again this year. Vying for the seat to be vacated by District 3 Commissioner Leonard Strouse are Thomas E. Dunn [R], Rickie Vancon [R], and Carolyn Kinberg [R]. The lone candidate seeking to fill the space to be vacated by District 4 Commissioner Jack Kleinhardt is Stephanie J. Brown [R].

Incumbent District 6 County Commissioner David A. Hoefling [R] faces challengers Bronwyn Asplund [R], Ken Raupp [R], and William Schuh [R].

The Clare County Road Commission has maintained 6-year terms, with a rotation of one commissioner every two years. This year, that board was expanded to five members, with two appointees for the duration of this year. With those two appointee positions in play, along with the rotated position being vacated by longtime commissioner Dick Haynack, three slots need to be filled at the CCRC. Vying for the 2-year term are Terry Acton [R] and Max Schunk [R]. Seeking the 4-year term are Colt J. Davis [R] and Bill Simpson [R]. The competition is steeper for the 6-year term, which is being sought by David Coker [R], Steve Graves [R], Merle Harmon [R], and Christopher Hoefling [R].

Those seeking to unseat incumbent Clare County Drain Commissioner Carl J. Parks [R] include Mike Henry [R] and Charles T. Pardue [R].

The township races offer some incumbents running unopposed, as well as some new contenders also running unopposed. Township races with multiple contenders for an office include:

Freeman trustee: Lori J. Lightfoot [D], Carol Barnett [R], and Sandra Sable [D].

Garfield treasurer: Ralph Stewart [R] and Robin Yarhouse [R]; Garfield trustee: Martha Rottiers [D], James Laard [R], and Lisa Roland [R].

Grant trustee: Margery Bell [R], Karl W. Randall [R] and Richard F. Zinser [R].

Greenwood supervisor: Bryan Fliegel [R] and Jess McClaughry [R]; Greenwood clerk: Linda Bailow [D], and Rachel Macksonv; Greenwood trustee: Barbara Ferrett [D], Katelynne Brewer [R], Gail Garrity [R], and Laura List [R].

Hayes supervisor: Mike Haley [D], James Hill [R], and Rick C. Jones [R]; Hayes trustee: Frank Gaberry [D], Robert Buckley [R], and Thomas Willett [R].

Sheridan trustee: Chris Kinberg [D], James Eberhart [R], and Brian J. Tomaski [R].

The Aug. 4 ballot also includes these three countywide millage proposals:

Clare County Central Dispatch Proposition for 9-1-1 System Funding: Shall the County of Clare, Michigan, be authorized to assess a charge on all landline, wireless, and voice over internet protocol service users located in Clare County of up to $1.75 per month, being a $0.75 increase from $1 to $1.75 per month, to be used exclusively for the funding of 9-1-1 emergency telephone call answering and dispatch services within Clare County, including facilities, equipment, maintenance, and operating costs?

Clare County Animal Control Services Millage Proposal: For the purpose of authorizing funding for Clare County Animal Control services, including funding for operations, equipment, maintenance, and improvements, shall the constitutional limitation imposed upon the total amounts of taxes which may be assessed in one (1) year upon the property within the County of Clare, Michigan be increased by up to 0.30 of one (1) mill ($0.30 per $1,000 of state taxable valuation), for a period of five (5) years, from 2020 through 2024, inclusive? If approved and levied in full, this millage will raise an estimated additional $327,679.05 in the first calendar year of the levy, based on state taxable valuation. 

Clare County Millage For Michigan State University Extension Services and 4-H: For the purpose of sustaining 4-H youth development, agriculture, health and nutrition, horticulture, finance and homeownership, and other community education programs through Michigan State University Extension services within Clare County, shall the limitation imposed under Article IX, Sec 6 of the Michigan Constitution on general ad valorem taxes within Clare County be increased by up to 0.13 mill ($.13 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) for a period of six (6) years, 2020 through 2025, inclusive? If approved and levied in full, this millage will raise an estimated additional $141,994 in the first calendar year of the levy, based on state taxable valuation.

Two townships will each see an additional proposal as well.

Hayes Township Millage Renewal Fire Protection: Shall the expired previously voted increase in the tax limitation imposed under Article IX, Sec. 6 of the Michigan Constitution in Hayes Township of not more than 1 mill ($1 per $1,000 of taxable value), which expired after 2019, be renewed at not more than 1 mill ($1 per $1,000 of taxable value) and levied for four (4) additional years, 2020 and through 2023 inclusive, for the purpose of providing fire protection in Hayes Township and raising not more than an estimated $113,853 in 2020?

Winterfield Precinct 2: McBain Rural Agricultural School Operating Millage Renewal Proposal: This proposal will allow the school district to continue to levy the statutory rate of not to exceed 18 mills on all property, except principal residence and other property exempted by law, required for the school district to receive its full revenue per pupil foundation allowance. Shall the limitation on the amount of taxes which may be assessed against all property, except principal residence and other property exempted by law, in McBain Rural Agricultural School, Missaukee, Wexford, Clare and Osceola Counties, Michigan, be increased by 18 mills ($18 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) for a period of 2 years, 2020 and 2021, to provide funds for operating purposes; the estimate of the revenue the school district will collect if the millage is approved and 18 mills are levied in 2020 is approximately $1,348,743 (this is a renewal of millage that expired with the 2019 tax levy)?

For more information, residents should contact their own township offices


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