My 2006 Primary voting story

Tuesday was our primary here in Michigan. Voters decided which candidates will face each other for various offices, and passed or defeated local ballot proposals.

Turnout was 18% statewide, 19% in Kent County, 17% in Kentwood, 20% in my precinct. It was a little higher in Kent County as a whole because the other state senate district (District 28; I live in District 29) had a hot Republican primary, while a couple House and county commission races were also competitive.

I voted in the Democratic Party primary. The only contested race on the Dem side of the ballot was that for US Congress. (Vern Ehlers usually wins more than 65% of the vote.) Jim Rinck won by 424 votes; it would’ve been 425 except that I voted for Peter Hickey. I also voted for Helen Brinkman (non-partisan) for Circuit Court Judge; she will face Mark Trusock in November. Three city Charter amendments and a county senior millage all pased with 70-plus percent of the vote, including mine. Oh, and I voted for myself for precinct delegate. ;-)

Elsewhere in West Michigan: Mark Jansen pulled off a surprise win over Joanne Voorhees in Senate District 28, and, given the Republican leaning of the district, is expected to win in November. I’m glad Voorhees lost; She and her husband Harold have been in politics for too long, IMO.

Tim Doyle, a 2002 Republican Senate candidate in District 29, edged out Chris Meyer for the right to take on former Grand Rapids City Commissioner Robert Dean in District 75. Term-limited incumbent Jerry Kooiman won in 2004 because the inexperienced Democrat barely campaigned. Now, Dean will campaign aggressively in a district where John Kerry got 54% (before Bush’s approval rating slipped below 40%), while the inexperienced Doyle lacks incumbency.

Fritz Wahlfield (R), David Morren (R) and, by 26 votes, Paul Mayhue (D) were renominated to the County Commission. Expect them to win in November. A closer race will be in the district where Carol Hennessy (D) faces Eric Schmidt (R) for the right to succeed Tom Postmus (R). Hennessy lost the last two elections to Postmus by fewer than 100 votes. Postmus vied to succeed the late Roger Laninga as Drain Commissioner; William Byl beat him for the Republican nomination.

Elsewhere in the state: Eric Welsby, former VP of College Democrats at CMU, came oh so close to winning the Democratic nomination for state house district 99 (part of Midland and all of Isabella counties); Loren Partlo won by just 61 votes. Former CMU College Dem Dave Tibergien lost to Julie Dennis for the right to take on incumbent Senator Jerry VanWoerkom in District 34. I hope they both run again in the future.

And of course, Mike Bouchard gets to take on Debbie Stabenow. What puzzles me is that Keith Butler won Kent County. Even the unoposed Stabenow outpolled Bouchard here!

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