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County voters have their say PDF Print E-mail
Written by Peter Nocerini   
Wednesday, November 07, 2012 3:46 PM

IRON COUNTY—A long-time county commissioner and a long-time township supervisor were both Election Day night casualties when Iron County voters went to their polling places on Nov. 6.
In District 3 (Caspian and the south half of Iron River), Ray Coates, running as an independent, handily defeated incumbent Rosalie King (Dem), getting 60 percent of the vote (555) to King’s 38 percent (357), a margin of 198 votes.
Coates’ victory means the five-member County Board will have two new members next January: Coates and Jim Brennan, who ran unopposed in District 2 (Bates Township and the north half of Iron River). Brennan got 864 votes.
Re-elected to new two-year terms were incumbents Carl L. Lind (District 4; Mastodon Township and city of Crystal Falls) and Beverly Camp (District 5; Hematite, Crystal Falls and Mansfield townships). Running unopposed, Lind got 914 votes, and Camp got 864.
Former County Commis-sioner Patti Peretto (District 1; Iron River and Stambaugh townships plus Gaastra) will join them. She was unopposed on the ballot but faced a write-in challenge from Wayne Wales, whom she defeated in the August primary. This time, Peretto easily turned back Wales, getting 70 percent of the vote (845).
The big township news came from Iron River Township, where Scott Tarsi (Rep) defeated incumbent Supervisor Mark Polley (Dem). Tarsi got 312 votes (53 percent) to Polley’s 278 (47 percent).
A full report on the township races and the two Iron River Township ballot proposals is in a separate article.
County Clerk Joan Luhtanen reported a 64 percent turnout county-wide, with 6,065 voters casting ballots.
Results show that 1,163 voted a straight party Democratic ticket, 887 went straight Republican, and 55 voters combined voted a straight ticket for the Libertarian, U.S. Taxpayers, Green or Natural Law parties.
County races
Incumbent C. Joseph Schwedler turned back Mark Tousignant’s challenge for the Probate Court judgeship by a margin of 193 votes—Schwedler got 2,802 votes to Tousignant’s 2,609.
In the three-way race for two seats on the Road Commission, Chris Sholander (Dem) and Dan Germic (Dem) outpaced Chalmers McGreaham (Ind). Germic was the only incumbent; Sholander takes the seat now held by Carl Sholander. Sholander led with 3,707 votes, Germic received 2,906, and McGreaham finished at 2,000.
The other county elected officers ran unopposed.
--Prosecuting attorney: Melissa A. Powell (D), 4,486.
--Sheriff: Mark Valesano (D), 4,855.
--Clerk: Joan Luhtanen (D), 4,733.
--Treasurer: Melanie Camps (D), 4,614.
--Register of deeds: Joetta M. Grieg (D), 4,593.
--Mine inspector: Thomas Karvala (D), 4,461.
--Drain Commissioner: Thomas Clark (D), 4,352,
City elections
Voters in Caspian, Crystal Falls and Gaastra elected members to their respective city councils.
In Crystal Falls, four candidates were seeking two open seats on the city council. Voters elected Patrick W. Sommers and Adam Schiavo to the four-year terms. Sommers received 543 votes, and Schiavo got 488. Behind them were Mike McCarthy (212) and Joan M. Havens (141).
Caspian voters decided three members to the city commission for two-year terms. All three incumbents were re-elected: Gary Sabol (208), Anthony Dallavalle (203) and Colleen Smetak (180). Also running were Mike Varney (154) and Matthew Jacks (95).
Candidates in Gaastra ran unopposed. Richard Wissell got 131 votes and will be mayor for the next year. Getting two-year terms as commissioners were Ray Kataja (131) and Thomas Place (124).
School Board
Candidates for the Forest Park and West Iron County school boards ran unopposed. Winning four-year terms at West Iron were Gary L. Pisoni (2,336) and Robert W. Possanza (2,159).
At Forest Park, candidates winning full six-year terms were William C. St. John (1,525) and Debra J. Divoky (1,343). Also, Donald R. Peterson (1,614) will complete a term that runs through the end of 2014.
Ballot proposals
Voters approved both county-wide ballot proposals were approved.
The renewal of the Enhanced 911 phone surcharge got 58.5 percent support (3,323 yes, 2,361 no). The renewal is for five years, from October 2013 through September 2018. The surcharge, which pays the costs of the E-911 program, was uncharged.
Voters also approved a half-mill county-wide levy for road maintenance with 59.6 percent support (yes. 3,378 yes, 2,291 no). The millage is for four years (2013 through 2016) and the revenue will be divided among the county’s four cities, the village of Alpha and the Road Commission, based on where it is generated.
All six state ballot proposals were defeated in Iron County, as they were statewide:
--Proposal 1, Emergency management law: yes, 1,625; no, 3,960 (71 percent).
--Proposal 2: Allow collective bargaining: yes, 2,051; no, 3,749 (64.6 percent).
--Proposal 3: Renewable energy mandate: yes, 1,685; no, 4,094 (71 percent).
--Proposal 4: Allow health care unions: yes, 1,998; no, 3,717 (65 percent).
--Proposal 5: Require vote for new taxes: yes, 2,071; no, 3,678 (64 percent).
--Proposal 6: Require vote on international bridges: yes, 2,185; no, 3,678 (64 percent).
Except for two ballot proposals in Iron River Township (see township story), there were no local ballot issues.
Federal, state races
A majority of Iron County residents voted for Republicans Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in the presidential race. The Romney-Ryan got 3,224 votes (54 percent), outdistancing Barack Obama and Joe Biden, who got 2,687 (47 percent). The others on the ballot received 76 votes, and there were 25 write-ins. Obama and Biden won both statewide and nationwide. Another 53 voters did not cast a vote for president.
Iron County voters did a good job picking the Congressional and Legislative winners:
--Debbie Stabenow (Dem) got 54.5 percent as she won re-election as U.S. senator. Stabenow got 3,211 votes, while Pete Hoekstra (Rep) got 2,448.
--Scott Dianda (Dem) got 74 more votes than incumbent Matt Huuki (Rep) in the 110th District State House race—Dianda got 2,932 to Huuki’s 2,858. Dianda won the 110th District seat and will take office in January.
--Dan Benishek (Rep) outpolled Gary McDowell (Dem) by 267 votes in the race for the First District seat in Congress, getting 2,990 votes to McDowell’s 2,723. Benishek narrowly won a second term.
In other races on the ballot:
--State Supreme Court (2): Stephen Markman, 2,007; Connie Marie Kelley, 1,730; Colleen O’Brien, 1,541; Bridget M. McCormack, 1,529.
--State Supreme Court, partial term: Brian Zahra, 2,088; Shelia Johnson, 1,589.
--State Board of Education (2): Michelle Facteau (D), 2,398; Todd A. Courser (R), 1,235; Melanie A. Kurdys (R), 2,201; Lupe Ramos-Montigny (D), 1,987.
--University of Michigan regent (2): Mark Bernstein (D), 2,194; Shauna Ryder Diggs (D), 2,185; Dan Horning (R), 2,163; Robert Steele (R), 2,145.
--Michigan State University trustee (2): Melanie Foster (R), 2,378; Joel Ferguson (D), 2,354; Jeff Sakwa (R), 2,036; Brian Mosallam (D), 1,992.
--Wayne State University governor (2): Sandra Hughes O’Brien (D), 2,393; Michael J. Bosuito (R), 2,183; Kim Trent (D), 2,119; Satish B. Jasti (R), 1,875.

Last Updated on Tuesday, November 13, 2012 2:55 PM

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