Voters favor incumbents in Birmingham, Bloomfield

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published November 7, 2012

It was a good night for incumbents Tuesday evening as the polls closed on election night in the Eagle’s coverage area.

Voters came out in droves to pick their president and decide a number of local races on Nov. 6. According to Bloomfield Hills City Clerk Amy Burton, the precincts in the hills were packed throughout the day, though there were no major issues with long waits to vote, like some other municipalities reported around metro Detroit.

“The city of Bloomfield Hills voting precincts have had a steady flow of voters all morning,” said Burton in an email Tuesday afternoon. “Voters have come to the polls prepared with proper identification and have been willing to wait in a short line in order to cast their ballot.”

Birmingham City Clerk Laura Broski reported similar streams of voters around the city, saying that the short wait many voters were encountering at the polls wasn’t out of the ordinary in Birmingham for a major election.

“We’re steady. This is about average for a presidential election,” said Broski.

When all was said and done, 2,780 residents in Bloomfield Hills cast votes on Election Day, which amounted to about 78 percent of registered voters in the city. The City Clerk’s office in Birmingham said it would not be releasing voter turnout data until the end of the week.

Many voters showed up to the polls to decide who would lead the United States for the next four years. Oakland County as a whole favored four more years of President Barack Obama over challenger Gov. Mitt Romney, though Romney was the winner in Bloomfield Hills.

One voter from Birmingham marked her ballot for the governor as a first-time voter. Madison Romney, a graduate of the Cranbrook Kingswood school in Bloomfield Hills and niece of Mitt Romney, said she was voting for her Uncle Mitt because “he’s a great guy.”

“I still can’t believe I get to vote for someone in my family and for someone who I completely trust. It’s amazing.”

Shortly after she voted, Madison Romney hopped on a plane to Boston to be with her uncle as the election results came in late Tuesday night.

But it was the incumbent presidential nominee that took the win. Similarly, in nearly all of the local races in the Eagle’s coverage area, incumbents were able to keep their spots in their respective offices.

Republican candidate Kerry Bentivolio snagged 117,758 votes, or 52.4 percent to win the open seat for U.S. House of Representatives in the 11th District over Democrat Syed Taj who got 95,353 votes (42.4 percent.)

Incumbent Rep. Sander Levin, D-Roseville, kept his 9th District U.S. House seat with 67,436 votes, (59.6 percent) over Republican challenger Don Volaric who had 40,592 votes (35.9 percent.)
Incumbent Rudy Hobbs got 43,995 votes (82.1 percent) to keep his seat in the state House 35th District. His challenger, Republican Timothy Sulowski got 8,986 votes (16.8 percent.)

For the open state House seat in the 40th District, Republican Mike McCready came out on top with 31,915 votes (56.9 percent) to beat Democrat Dorian Coston’s 22,771 votes (40.6 percent.)

All three incumbent candidates for Oakland County Commissioner in Districts 12, 13 and 14 were able to keep their seats over their challengers. In District 12, Republican Shelley Goodman Taub won with 23,336 votes (65.7 percent) versus Democratic Paul Secrest, who got 12,111 votes (34 percent.) In District 13, Democrat Marcia Gershenson received 19,432 votes (64 percent) to keep her seat over Republican Al Zaparackas who got 10,728 votes (35.3 percent.) In District 14, Republican Bill Dwyer beat challenger Todd Stearn with 52 percent of the vote (16,740 votes). Stearn received 15,288 votes (47 percent.)

In Birmingham, incumbents Michael Fenberg and Geri Rinschler were able to keep their positions as trustees on the Birmingham Public Schools Board of Education. The victories were narrow, however, with Fenberg and Rinschler getting 10,611 votes (28.9 percent) and 9,610 votes (26.1 percent) respectively over the challengers. John Connelly took 7,771 votes (21.4 percent) despite the fact that he officially dropped out of the race months before the election.

Though the final challenger, Mary Blake, never officially withdrew from the race prior to the election, she was noticeably absent from media and campaign events in the days leading up to the vote. In a voter profile published in the Eagle Oct. 24, Blake wrote that she thought the two incumbents would be a better choice since she didn’t think she would have the time needed for the job. Blake received 8,603 votes (23.4 percent.)

You can read more about other local issues that were on the ballot, including the Bloomfield Hills Schools Board of Education trustee race, Southfield Township Clerk, Beverly Hills Village Council, and Birmingham City Charter Amendment later in this issue and online at