The special election to replace Karen Spranger as Macomb County clerk generated 19 candidates, 11 Republicans and eight Democrats, including several current and former elected officials.
State Sen. Steve Bieda (D-Warren) and former county commissioner Fred Miller (D-Mount Clemens) stand atop the pile as Bieda, who is term-limited, took a sharp turn in his political plans for 2018 while Miller hopes to cast aside his loss to Spranger, a Republican neophyte, in the 2016 elections.
Bieda made a surprise announcement on Monday that he was withdrawing from the congressional race to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Sandy Levin and instead running for the open clerk seat. Miller, who also previously served in the state House, is attempting a comeback after Spranger was ousted from her post last month by a judge who concluded she falsely claimed to be a Macomb County/Warren resident when she filed for office two years ago.
As of the 4 p.m. filing deadline today, other prominent candidates in the Democratic primary are St. Clair Shores Mayor Kip Walby and Roseville City Clerk Richard Steenland. In the contest for the Republican nomination, the field includes former county commissioners Jim Perna of Clinton Township and Nicki Brandenburg of Macomb Township.
Perna and Brandenburg also filed for their respective former county commissioner seats so they each have until Friday at 4 p.m. to withdraw from one of the two races they’re pursuing.
The clerk’s race marks the biggest free-for-all in Macomb County elections since 24 candidates filed for sheriff in 2000 and Mark Hackel, now the county executive, emerged on top.
The special election to fill the vacancy will appear on the same August primary and November general election ballots as the regularly scheduled elections.
Meanwile, the filing deadline for congressional, state and county offices produced the “musical chairs” election scenario that is typical in Macomb County.
Among the current and former elected officials seeking new offices are:
- Term-limited state Sen. Tory Rocca (R-Sterling Heights) is running for an open seat on the county circuit court.
- Former state Rep. Ken Goike (R-Ray Township) has his eye on north Macomb’s 8th District in the state Senate.
- Rep. Pete Lucido (R-Shelby Township) is also vying for that 8th District seat, which is opening up as incumbent Sen. Jack Brandenburg (R-Harrison Township) faces term limits.
- Warren City Clerk Paul Wojno, a former state House member, is looking to replace Bieda in the state Senate’s 9th District, which encompasses most of the southern half of the county.
- Term-limited Rep. Henry Yanez (D-Sterling Heights) hopes to replace Rocca in central Macomb’s 10th Senate District.
- Sterling Heights City Councilman Nate Shannon, who was just elected to his city post last November, filed to replace Yanez in the 25th House District, which is compromised of about half of Sterling Heights and a small piece of northern Warren.
- Former Roseville mayor and state Rep. Harold Haugh will be campaigning in the Democratic primary for the county commissioner seat being vacated by Kathy Tocco (D-Fraser).
- Former Sterling Heights councilman Paul Smith will go toe-to-toe with his former council colleague, Joe Romano, as he attempts to knock Romano out of his commissioner seat.
You can view the full list of candidates here.