Election cycles can be difficult to navigate. Not all voters closely follow local politics, and even those who do don’t always fall into the straight Republican and Democrat categories. Primary elections can be even more difficult to navigate due to multiple options in each party. In Michigan, primary voters can only choose from either the Republican and Democratic ticket. Those hoping to vote in the Aug. 7 primary need to be registered, but should also know who and what they’re voting for. The following is only a surface level view of the candidates on the Eaton County primary ballot. Readers are encouraged to only start with this information and do more digging into each candidate online, or by contacting candidates themselves.
At the county level, there are contentious races in 11 of the 15 county districts, and only five of those districts have more than one candidate running from the same party. For the open seat in District 1, there are two candidates running from the Republican Party, Tim Barnes and Sheri Forell. Rob Piercefield is running as a Democrat.
District 10 also has two Republicans, incumbent Roger Eakin and Lynn Forell, running for the commissioner seat, and Matthew Bowen is running as a Democrat.
In District 11 there are only two Republicans running for the seat — incumbent Wayne Ridge and challenger, Rick Waara. District 13 has two Republicans running for the seat — incumbent Kent Austin, and challenger, Jim Mott.
District 15 is the only district with two Democrats, Helen Broom and Dan Wyman, running against Republican incumbent, Barbara Rogers.
The other six districts are uncontested primary races featuring one Democrat and one Republican. District 2’s seat is between Republican incumbent Blake Mulder and Democrat challenger, Susan Anderson. The open seat in District 4 is between Republican Rick Olivarez and Democrat Brandon Haskell. Democrat incumbent Jane Whitacre is defending her seat in District 6 from Republican challenger, Titus Merriam. In District 7, Democrat incumbent Glenn Freeman is defending his seat from Republican challenger, Frank Egeler. Republican incumbent Brian Lautzenheiser of District 12 is defending his seat from Democrat challenger, Chris Laverty. The seat in District 14 is between Republican incumbent Heather Wood and Democrat challenger Tim Cattron. The Eaton County districts not listed here are single contender races, though readers are still encouraged to visit eatoncounty.org to find those candidates. County commissioner terms are two years long, and are limited to two terms per commissioner.
There are no contested township clerk or trustee seats to announce, though readers are encouraged to visit the county website to view those single candidates running for the few that are open.
For Eaton County voters there are also state legislature seats to fill in 2018. For the 24th state senate district, Tom Barrett (former state representative in the 71st representative district), and Brett Roberts (former state representative in the 65th representative district), are running as Republicans. Kelly Rossman-McKinney is the Democrat running for the state senate seat, and Katie Nepton is the Libertarian running for the seat. For the empty seat in the 65th state representative district, Todd Brittain, Matt Eyer, Sarah Lightner, and Carl Rudolph Rice Jr. are the Republican candidates. Terri McKinnon and Val Cochran Toops are the Democrat candidates, and Jason Rees is the Libertarian candidate. In the 71st state representative district, Christine E. Barnes, Chuck Cascarilla, Chris Stewart, and Clarisa Trevino are the Republican candidates. Beth Bowen, Dominic Michael Natoli, and Angela Witwer are the Democratic candidates.
The candidates for Michigan’s United States Senate seat are Democrat incumbent Debbie Stabenow, and Republicans John James and Sandy Pensler. The candidates for the 7th congressional district seat are Republican incumbent Tim Walberg, and Democrats Gretchen Driskell and Steven Friday.
For the gubernatorial race there are four Republicans, current Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley, state attorney general Bill Schuette, Patrick Colbeck, and Jim Hines. The three Democrat candidates are Abdul El-Sayed, Shri Thanedar, and Gretchen Whitmer. The two Libertarian candidates are Bill Gelineau and John J. Tatar.
The listing of the aforementioned candidates are specifically for those readers who may not be technologically savvy enough to find the list of candidates online, but all readers are still encouraged to research the candidates relevant to their respective districts. Many of the candidates, even those at the county commissioner level, have Facebook pages and websites to present their platforms on key issues in their districts. Voting along party lines is required for the Michigan primary.