TEMPERANCE -- There will be plenty of competitive races in Bedford Township in Tuesday's primary election for township board offices, but the competition for the highest offices is between Republicans. Democrats are fielding only two candidates for the four trustee seats, a part-time position, and none for the full-time positions of supervisor, clerk, and treasurer.
This lack of interparty competition makes it a virtual certainty that Republicans will retain the top township positions in the November general election, winning by default unless independent or write-in candidates emerge. The deadline for Democrats to file has passed.
Michigan primary voters must vote a straight-party ticket. A ballot containing a cross-party vote will count only for issues and nonpartisan races.
In the supervisor's race, incumbent Walt Wilburn seeks a third term and faces a challenge from Greg Stewart, a Lambertville resident who is the Luna Pier administrator.
Mr. Wilburn, a Temperance resident in his eighth year in office, said he wants to continue with the projects he has focused on, including improving the township's roads. He maintains that during his tenure, 155 miles of roads have been improved and the township collected $18 million in grants and other money for road projects.
Mr. Stewart is campaigning on what he says is the township's need of new leadership and touts his background in economic development. He became Luna Pier administrator in 2008 and before then worked at the Regional Growth Partnership and Edison Industrial Systems Center in Toledo. He said his past work has grounded him in economic development and management.
He said that as supervisor, he would put his background in economic development to work for the township. He said he also would post all township financial data on the township's new Web site, which is under construction.
The contest for township clerk features an appointed incumbent who is challenged by a township trustee.
Trudy Hershberger of Lambertville became clerk this year after the death in January of her predecessor, Bob Schockman. Her opponent is Gail Hauser-Hurley of Lambertville, who spent 12 years on the Monroe County Board of Commissioners before becoming a Bedford trustee.
Ms. Hershberger began her employment with the township in 1997 and did a stint in the assessing department before Mr. Schockman, a Democrat, made her his deputy. In her 12 years in the clerk's department, her duties have included overseeing the budget and accounts payable. Recently, she also has worked on getting the new Web site up and running.
Ms. Hauser-Hurley said she would bring a new level of experience to the clerk's office. She said in her dozen years on the county board, she was involved in computerizing operations and overseeing the county's then-$42 million budget. She served on the board's transportation panel, a position that involved frequent trips to Lansing.
In the treasurer's race, the contenders -- Laura Collins and Paul Francis -- are both accountants. The winner will replace Sherri Meyer, who plans to retire at year-end after 30 years in office.
Ms. Collins is the owner of Collins and Associates Accounting and Tax Service in Lambertville. She was endorsed by Ms. Meyer and said if elected she would run the office with the same efficiency and customer service Ms. Meyer has demonstrated. She is president of the Bedford Business Association and treasurer of the Bedford Community Foundation.
Mr. Francis is a township trustee and served eight years on the Bedford Board of Education. He has been a certified public accountant for 43 years, has audited school districts and townships, and said his expertise extends to all aspects of government accounting and financial reporting. On the township board, he is a member of the finance committee, road committee, and fire commission.
Ten candidates -- two Democrats and eight Republicans -- vie for the four trustee seats. The Democrats are Larry O'Dell, the only incumbent, and R. Mark Ellsworth. The Republicans are Mike Bassinger, Paul Pirrone, Michael Sprott, Rick Steiner, Nancy Tienvieri, George Welling, Aaron Wiens, and Jeffery Zink,
Five Democrats and two Republicans contend for the five park commission seats. The Democrats are John Mohr and Connie Velliquette, both incumbents, and Robert Bomyea, Kathryn Schafer, and Joan Schockman. The Republicans are Garnet Francis, an incumbent, and Sally Dunn. The top four Republicans will advance to the general election where they, along with the two Democrats, will vie for four seats.
In other county townships:
The primary likely will decide the supervisor, treasurer, and clerk in Erie Township as only Democrats filed petitions to be on the ballot.
Longtime Supervisor William Frey faces a challenge from fellow Democrat Danny Taylor in the primary. Voters also will be asked to decide between incumbent Treasurer Cindy Baum and Cynthia Wisbon, who ran unsuccessfully for the seat two years ago. Clerk Jolene Upchurch, a Democrat, faces no opposition in the primary or general election.
In the trustees' race, incumbents David Cousino and Michael Grodi will square off against William Whitt and Chad Yenor for two seats on the township board.
Voters in Whiteford Township who select the Republican ballot can choose among incumbent Trustee Donald Sahloff, Kipp Van Tassel, and Christine Hauser. The top two finishers will appear on the November ballot.
Frenchtown Township voters will choose between Democrats Jeff Grodi and incumbent James McDevitt in the supervisor's race. There is no Republican challenger.
David Brown and Tim DeSloover seek the Democratic nomination in the election of a new LaSalle Township supervisor to replace Larry Rutledge, who is retiring from the post at year-end. The winner will face Republican Peter Demray in November.
Township voters who declare for the Democratic ticket will advance trustee candidates to the fall election. Lyle Curley, Lorey Roop, and Thomas Rutledge are running for the two seats.
In the only contested primary in Ida Township, Republican Clerk Donald Appleman is being challenged by Denise Horner. There is no candidate on the Democrat side.
Monroe Township has six Democrats -- Chad Cupp, William Heck, Richard Janssens, Amber Pancone, Vivian Walczesky, and Richard Wilson -- running for four trustee seats on the township board.
Summerfield Township Supervisor Kevin Iott, a Republican, has a challenge from Richard Garst in the primary. Also in the township, incumbent Tammy Bleaskha and Jamie Dean will be on the Republican ballot and Trudy Goodin and Zelda Lucas are the Democrat candidates in the clerk's contest.
In the Republican nomination for two trustee seats, incumbents Mark Strahan and Dale Wagenknecht are opposed by Rodney Haddix, and Gary Missler.
Staff writer Mark Reiter contributed to this report.
Contact Carl Ryan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6095.