Wilburn fails write-in bid for Bedford Twp. post

Malone romps in Monroe County sheriff’s race


TEMPERANCE — Bed­ford Town­ship will be get­ting a new su­per­vi­sor.

In­cum­bent Walt Wil­burn con­ceded Tues­day eve­ning af­ter it be­came ap­par­ent that his write-in cam­paign against en­dorsed Re­pub­li­can Greg Stew­art was un­suc­cess­ful.

"We gave it a good fight. My sup­port­ers urged me to do it, and we gave it a good shot," he said.

The un­of­fi­cial, in­com­plete count had Mr. Stew­art de­feat­ing Mr. Wil­burn 6,859 to 1,834, ac­cord­ing to the Bed­ford Re­pub­li­can Club pre­cinct watch­ers who vis­ited the town­ship's 14 pre­cincts.

Mr. Stew­art will take the su­per­vi­sor's of­fice at noon on Nov. 20, when he is sworn in along with other mem­bers of the new town­ship board. He de­feated Mr. Wil­burn by 231 votes in the Aug. 7 GOP pri­mary and seemed a shoo-in to win the gen­eral elec­tion be­cause no Dem­o­crat was in the race.

Then Mr. Wil­burn de­cided to seek a third term as write-in can­di­date, at­trib­ut­ing his loss to the the low turn­out of 25 per­cent and Mich­i­gan's pri­mary elec­tion rules that re­quire vot­ers to fol­low a straight party ticket. He be­lieved that many of his sup­port­ers, convinced he was as­sured of vic­tory, cast their votes for one of the three Dem­o­crats in the high-pro­file con­test to be their party's nom­i­nee in the Mon­roe County sher­iff's race, thereby dis­qual­i­fy­ing them­selves from vot­ing for him.

Mr. Stew­art is the mu­nic­i­pal ad­min­is­tra­tor for the city of Luna Pier and will leave that job to take the su­per­vi­sor's po­si­tion, the town­ship's high­est elec­tive of­fice. He and his wife, Marti, are Lam­bert­ville res­i­dents.

In his cam­paign, he touted his back­ground in eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and said Tues­day he in­tended to work with Mon­roe County to bring more busi­nesses to Bed­ford.

"We need to be more col­lab­o­ra­tive," he said.

He said he also planned to speed up adop­tion of the new Web site Bed­ford of­fi­cials have been con­struct­ing and would post the town­ship's fi­nan­cial state­ments on it as part of what he called his com­mit­ment to trans­par­ency.

As for his im­pend­ing ac­ces­sion to the su­per­vi­sor's po­si­tion, Mr. Stew­art said he had "a feel­ing of re­spon­si­bil­ity" along with sense of re­lief that his cam­paign­ing was over.

Mr. Wil­burn said he would help in the tran­si­tion if needed, and was proud of the proj­ects com­pleted while he was su­per­vi­sor, in­clud­ing the new town­ship hall, the fire sta­tion on Lewis Avenue, and the Bed­ford Branch Li­brary.

"We im­proved more than 30 miles of roads and at­tracted $18.5 mil­lion in state and fed­eral funds," he said. "We have a bal­anced bud­get in the worst eco­nomic down­turn in 30 years."

The can­di­dates for the town­ship's full-time of­fices of clerk and trea­surer were, re­spec­tively, Re­pub­li­cans Trudy Her­sh­berger and Paul Francis. Both were un­op­posed.

In the con­test for four Bed­ford Town­ship trustee seats, Paul Pir­rone, Larry O'Dell, Rick Steiner, and Nancy Tienvieri were win­ning Tues­day night.

Sum­mer­field Town­ship vot­ers re­moved Su­per­vi­sor Kevin Iott, a Re­pub­li­can, from of­fice, and in­stead elected Demo­cratic chal­lenger John Chan­dler.

Dem­o­crat Leanne Goodin was elected clerk and Re­pub­li­can Joan Wie­der­hold won re-elec­tion to trea­surer. Re­pub­li­cans Gary Missler and Dale Wagen­k­necht won the trustee races.

In White­ford Town­ship, in­cum­bent Re­pub­li­can An­gela Chris­tensen with­stood a chal­lenge from Patrick Nidek to win re-elec­tion to clerk and Re­pub­li­can Don­ald Sahl­off and Dem­o­crat Ber­nice Hei­del­berg won trustee seats.

Par­tial elec­tion re­sults showed that Dem­o­crat Dale Malone of Carle­ton was win­ning by large mar­gin for Mon­roe County sher­iff and vot­ers were choos­ing to re­tain Tem­per­ance res­i­dent David Thomp­son as drain com­mis­sioner.

Mr. Malone, a re­tired ma­jor who worked in the of­fice for 29 years, was op­posed by Re­pub­li­can can­di­date Jan Jay to re­place Sher­iff Til­man Crutch­field, who is step­ping down af­ter 16 years.

Mr. Thomp­son, a Dem­o­crat and long­time em­ployee of the county's drain of­fice, was hold­ing off a chal­lenge from Re­pub­li­can Joe Leh­mann.

In other con­tests, at­tor­ney Daniel White of Mon­roe had a slight lead in the 28th Cir­cuit Court judge race against Cheryl Sweeney of LaSalle. Mr. White was ap­pointed to fill the re­main­der of the term of Judge Joseph Cos­tello, Jr.

Frank Ar­nold had a slim lead over Jill LaVoy in the elec­tion for pro­bate judge in Cir­cuit Court. Both are Mon­roe res­i­dents.

Mr. Ar­nold was ap­pointed by then-Gov. Jen­ni­fer Granholm in July, 2010.