A Primary Primer
By: Ken DeLaat
With the recent school elections now in the rear view mirror Newaygo County’s next opportunity to move their opinions from facebook to the polling booth will arrive on August 2nd when the primary produces the candidates that will compete for November votes in the General Election.
With a substantial Republican majority in Newaygo County many local elections are often, for all practical purposes, decided when the primary results come in since 19 of the 20 candidates for county offices are...
running on the Republican side of the ballot. Among those running for township offices 80% are listed as Republican.
Prosecuting Attorney Bob Springstead, County Treasurer Holly Moon, Drain Commissioner Dale Twing, Register of Deeds Stewart Sanders and County Surveyor Norm Ochs are running unopposed while Sheriff Pat Hedlund faces a challenge from White Cloud and Grant Police Chief Bob Mendham and incumbent County Clerk Andrew Robinson will be defending his seat against Jason VanderStelt who currently works in the County Treasurer’s office.
Three of the seven positions on the county’s Board of Commissioners will see contested races. Bryan Kolk is seeking to unseat Commissioner Steve Johnson in District 2 while Joel Frey will be running on the Democratic side for the District 6 seat post currently held by Chris Ortwein.
With Commissioner Larry Lethorn deciding to not seek another term, three candidates have entered the race to replace him in District 5. Terry Harrison, Del Hirdes, and Lavern Willett all hope to emerge from the August primary as the top vote getter.
Of the 24 Township Supervisor posts 18 have single candidates and one, Troy Township, will be decided by write- in votes since not a single candidate filed.
Brooks, Everett, Sherman and Monroe Townships will be able to pick between two candidates and Grant Township where recent discord and controversy led to the resignation of the clerk and a couple of spots on local television no fewer than 5 candidates are vying for the position.
With the departure of State Representative Jon Bumstead via term limits the 100th District Seat he has held since being elected in 2010 is up for grabs. Three Republican candidates and two from across the aisle will be looking to advance to the tournament finals in November. On the Democratic side of the slate Sandy Clarke and Cathy Forbes will be seeking votes while the GOP hopefuls are Dan Eley, Scott VanSingel and John Wilterink.
Near North Now will be reporting on the races that lie ahead with a focus on the contested seats. We hope to have the opportunity to sit down with the candidates in these electoral match-ups and listen to their reasons for wanting to serve, the ideas they would like to put forth and their plans for the future of the area they wish to represent.
N3 will also be looking at conducting a few polls regarding any upcoming state proposals and the national election in an attempt to gauge the political mood and preferential posture of our readers as they head toward the polls in what has been a rather unconventional political year.
To see all the candidates running for office in the county you can visit the Newaygo County website and access the County Clerk’s Elections Page.