State Sen. Pete Lucido, after facing punishment from his own Republican Senate colleagues last month for sexually harassing women in the capital, stands as the prohibitive favorite to win the GOP nomination for Macomb County prosecutor.
With an open seat up for grabs for the prestigious position after incumbent Democrat Eric Smith resigned last month while facing numerous criminal indictments, Lucido faces only an obscure candidate in the upcoming August primary.
After today’s candidate filing deadline for federal, state and local candidates across the state, the Democratic contenders for prosecutor include former judges Mary Chrzanowski and Jodi Switalski, as well as criminal defense attorney Tom Rombach, former president of the State Bar Association of Michigan.
Lucido, a wealthy attorney, likely scared away all competition in the GOP primary after laying down the law in 2014 on political races he engages in. In his first political campaign, a bid for state House six years ago, he broke the state record for the most spending in a state House primary, $304,000, including an astounding infusion of $185,000 from his own bank account.
Today’s filing deadline was full of surprises in a county where unpredictable politics is the norm.
Prominent county Commissioner Leon Drolet, R-Macomb Township, who suddenly decided to give up his seat for a run at township treasurer, said 2020 has shapes up as a most unusual election year.
Rather than potential candidates sitting back amid the countless uncertainties of the coronavirus lockdown, it seems that numerous former elected officials, perhaps suffering from classic cabin fever, have jumped into various races with little thought.
Among the most unexpected candidate clashes taking hold in the August and November elections:
- Former Air Force General Doug Slocum, who quickly emerged as the frontrunner last fall to replace outgoing 10th District Congressman Paul Mitchell, is running a rather distant third in the GOP field, based on Federal Election Commission documentation of campaign money raised and spent in the race. A former commander of the Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township, Slocum in the money race trails by a wide margin businesswoman Lisa McClain of Shelby Township and state Rep. Shane Hernandez of St. Clair County. The heavily Republican district stretches from Sterling Heights and north Macomb to the tip of the Thumb Area.
- County board Chairman Bob Smith (D-Clinton Township), who has become engulfed in the controversies of his brother, Eric Smith, has decided to seek a demotion and run for Clinton Township clerk.
- The domino effect created by Drolet’s aim at repairing Macomb Township’s chaotic politics, resulted in the return of two former GOP commissioners who previously held Drolet’s 13th District seat – Nicki Brandenburg and Joe Sabatini.
- State Rep. Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores), the youngest member of the Hertel family political dynasty and a prominent member of the Democratic House leadership in Lansing, somehow attracted five election challengers. Two years ago, Hertel was unopposed in the Democratic primary and won the November election by a 2-1 landslide.
- Republican Sherri Murphy, who was a top assistant to Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller when Miller served as Harrison Township supervisor and as county treasurer, jumped into the fray as GOP Treasurer Larry Rocca fights for re-election after winning narrowly in 2016. Democrat Lori Barnwell, the Warren City Treasurer, has already launched an aggressive campaign against Rocca.
- Jim Carabelli, the highest-ranking Republican county commissioner as board vice chair, is abandoning his longtime seat on the Board of Commissioners to run for Shelby Township treasurer. His opponent in the GOP primary is Michael Flynn, a former congressional candidate in 2018.
- Ex-county Commissioner Bill Revoir (R-Clinton Township) has emerged after about a decade outside of politics to challenge controversial state Rep. Steve Marino (R-Harrison Township) in the August primary.
In recent days, other candidate filings have raised eyebrows within the political playground:
- Some 22 candidates filed for Macomb Township trustee after two of the seven former township board members have been indicted by the feds for bribery and other felony charges. Four candidates will be elected in November.
- Term-limited state representative Jeff Farrington (R-Utica) who was succeeded in Lansing by his wife, is taking a shot at Carabelli’s former seat on the county board.
- Toni Moceri (D-Warren), who gave up her county commissioner seat in 2014, is trying to make a political comeback by mounting an underdog political challenge of Republican Candice Miller for county Public Works Commissioner.
- Robert Boccomino, one of the four Warren city council members unceremoniously bounced from the 2019 ballot by a judge for trying to circumvent voter-approved term limits, is taking on longtime county Commissioner Marv Sauger in District 2.
- Steve Colegio, husband of former Warren Councilwoman Kelly Colegio, who challenged Mayor Jim Fouts and lost by a big margin last year, has filed to run for state House or county clerk. A former Warren cop, he has until Friday afternoon to choose which seat he will pursue.