TEMPERANCE — Bedford Township Republican voters have turned to a new candidate for the November general election for the office of supervisor. Challenger Greg Stewart ousted two-term incumbent Walt Wilburn by a vote of 1,661 to 1,401.
He goes into the November election unopposed, as do the winning Republican candidates for township clerk and treasurer.
Mr. Wilburn knew he had lost even before the township clerk’s office had the final results, and made a gracious concession to Mr. Stewart in the township hall Tuesday evening. An independent tally of votes by precinct watchers showed Mr. Stewart defeating him by about 200 votes, Mr. Wilburn said.
He and Mr. Stewart shook hands and embraced as Mr. Wilburn offered his congratulations. Mr. Stewart is the Luna Pier administrator and would leave that job to become supervisor.
“It feels good,” Mr. Stewart said of his victory. “It’s a lot of responsibility.”
Mr. Wilburn said the voters wanted a change and the low turnout of 25 percent hurt him. He also believed a lot of his supporters thought he was assured of re-election and voted for the competing sheriff’s candidates on the Democratic ticket. Michigan primary voters must vote a straight party ticket.
“I have had a wonderful tenure as supervisor,” said Mr. Wilburn, who is in his eighth year in office. He said he would make sure Mr. Stewart was “up to speed” by the time he was ready to take office.
“We both said we would run a clean race, and we did,” he said.
Mr. Stewart in turn said he and the township would benefit from Mr. Wilburn’s advice and good will as he adjusted to his new duties.
Bedford Township’s busy slate of primary races virtually guarantees that the community’s three top township board offices — supervisor, clerk, and treasurer — will stay in Republican hands, barring the emergence of strong independent or write-in candidates in the November general election, because no Democrats were on Tuesday’s ballot.
In his campaign, Mr. Stewart touted his background in economic development and said Bedford needed new leadership. He became Luna Pier administrator in 2008 and before that worked at the Regional Growth Partnership and Edison Industrial Systems Center in Toledo. He is a Lambertville resident.
In the contest for township clerk, incumbent Trudy Hershberger, who was appointed to the post after the death in January of her predecessor, Bob Schockman, trounced Gail Hauser-Hurley, a township trustee and former Monroe County commissioner, by a vote of 2,103 to 861.
In the treasurer’s race, Paul Francis, a township trustee and former Bedford Board of Education member, edged out Laura Collins by a count of 1,485 to 1,424. They ran neck and neck for much of the evening as ballots from the township’s 14 precincts were counted. Mr. Francis and Ms. Collins are both accountants.
In the competition for the four township trustee seats, Nancy Tienvieri, Paul Pirrone, Jeff Zink, and Rick Steiner were the top Republican vote-getters and will move to the November ballot. Eight Republicans appeared in the partisan primary.
The Democratic field consisted of only two candidates, incumbent Larry O’Dell and Mark Ellsworth.
In Whiteford Township, Trustee Donald Sahloff and Christine Hauser defeated Kipp Van Tassel in the Republican primary to run against former supervisor and Democrat Bernice Heidelberg for two open seats.
Ida Township Clerk Donald Appleman won over Denise Horner in the Republican primary to keep his job. There is no Democratic candidate.
Frenchtown Township Supervisor James McDevitt held off a challenge from fellow Democrat Jeff Grodi to retain the office as he faces no opponent in November.
In LaSalle Township, David Brown lost to fellow Democrat Fire Chief Tim DeSloover for the right to run against Republican Peter Demray for township supervisor. Also, Democrats Thomas Rutledge and Lorey Roop advanced to face David Anteau for the two open trustee seats in November.
In Monroe Township, William Heck, Jr., Richard Janssens, Amber Pancone, and Richard Wilson won Democratic nominations and will face Ryan Timiney, the lone Republican candidate, for four trustee positions.
Summerfield Township Clerk Tammy Bleashka lost to fellow Republican Jamie Dean. He will face Democrat Trudy Goodin, who defeated Zelda Lucas. Supervisor Kevin Iott barely held off Richard Garst in the Republican primary and will take on Democrat John Chandler.
In the trustee election, incumbent Dale Wagenknecht and Gary Missler advanced in the Republican primary. They will face Democrat Tammy Harbaugh for two open trustee seats.
Contact Carl Ryan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6183.