Voters: New sheriff, same commission
MANISTIQUE – There will be a new sheriff in town come January, but little else changed with Tuesday’s General Election. Four out of five incumbent county commissioners retained their seats, and voters once again said “no” to a millage request from Michigan State University Extension.
In a close race, incumbent Grant S. Harris was beat out for the position of Schoolcraft County Sheriff by past rival W. John Norrington. The two met up in the 2008 election, but Norrington took fourth place out of five candidates. This time however, Norrington was able to garner 2,093 votes – beating Harris by 205 votes.
“I just want to thank all those folks who supported me during my term,” Harris said on Wednesday. “It was my honor to serve the citizens of Schoolcraft County for the past four years and I wish John good luck in his time as sheriff.”
On Wednesday, Norrington welcomed his win, noting that voters had many issues brought forth during the election season.
“I want to thank voters for their support during a very difficult political campaign,” Norrington said. “Hopefully I can do the job and will satisfy the people of the county and represent them in the correct way.”
Between now and January, when Norrington will take over as sheriff, he explained he would be gathering more specific details about the department and how it is currently run. Difficulties surrounding the office are those Norrington said he understands.
“I commend him (Harris), I never said that he didn’t do the job with what he had to work with,” he said. “There’s a lot of things to deal with, I’ve dealt with them in the past being a state employee … it’s going to be a challenge, but hopefully I’m up for the challenge.”
Norrington also noted he would be open to suggestions from all those he serves – throughout the county.
“If I’m not doing the job, let me know,” he said. “I’m here to represent everyone in the county, no matter who you voted for. I’m here to serve all the citizens of Schoolcraft County.”
For county commissioner, District 1, Craig A. Reiter was able to retain his seat on the board with 369 votes. His competition, Jerry Glasscock and John Zellar, pulled down 248 and 239 votes, respectively.
In District 2, a seat currently held by George Ecclesine, who did not seek re-election, Susan Cameron narrowly defeated challenger
Rudy Lawrence with 281 votes to his 261. Third contender Allan Ott collected 132 votes.
Current board Chairperson Allen Grimm protected his seat from challenger Jill Johnson, pulling down 560 votes to her 344.
Independent Isaac R. Swisher was easily defeated by incumbent Gerald L. Zellar in District 4, garnering only 116 votes to Zellar’s 432.
In District 5, incumbent Daniel J. LaFoille was able to retain his seat on the board with 491 votes. His competitor, Renata M. Kitzman, pulled down 359 votes.
As for county-wide proposals, MSUE was unable to secure a millage to operate a Schoolcraft County office; their fourth attempt at passing the millage failed by 1,129 votes. Manistique Area Schools, on the other hand, was successful at passing their millage renewal request – but not by much. The request passed with 1,782 “yes” and 1,477 “no” votes.
In Thompson Township, incumbent Theresa Lund was able to retain her position as supervisor, defeating contender Len Van Ness by 164 votes.
Doyle Township Clerk Tracy Smith was also able to hold her positions, garnering 185 votes to newcomer Stephanie Carlson’s 153.
As with the unofficial state results, voters in Schoolcraft County decided against all six state proposals.
While President Barack Obama won re-election nationally, locally, he lost to contender Mitt Romney by 277 votes. With an unofficial 303 electoral votes, Obama easily beat Romney, who pulled in only 206.
The race for Representative in Congress, District 1, would have ended differently in Schoolcraft County as well, with Gary McDowell beating out incumbent Dan Benishek by 74 votes. District-wide, however, Benishek retained his position with 166,833 votes while McDowell pulled in only 161,536.
Voting in-line with the rest of the state, county voters kept incumbent Debbie Stabenow for U.S. Senator. She beat out contender Pete Hoekstra with 2,201 votes to his 1,627. State wide, Stabenow received 1,907,534 to Hoekstra’s 1,475,029 votes.
Taking term-limited Steven Lindberg’s seat in the 109th district state legislature will be John Kivela. He beat out contender Jack Hubbard by 6,738 votes. In Schoolcraft County, however, Hubbard pulled down 2,103 votes to Kivela’s 1,769.
As for voter turnout, according to election results, out of 6,627 registered voters in Schoolcraft County, 4,104 cast ballots – 61.93 percent.