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September 5, 2012

Write-ins vow to fight on in county board races

By Brian Louwers
C & G Staff Writer

» click to enlarge «
From left, Joseph Hunt and Joe Peters Jr. said they intend to campaign hard for write-in votes in their respective District 2 and District 1 races for seats on the Macomb County Board of Commissioners.

WARREN — Joe Peters Jr. and Joseph Hunt said they won’t let something like a loss in this year’s primary election stop them from their bids to unseat entrenched incumbents on the Macomb County Board of Commissioners.

Peters finished behind incumbent Toni Moceri in the Democratic primary for District 1 on Aug. 7. Hunt finished third behind incumbent Marv Sauger in the Democratic District 2 race.

With Moceri now pitted against Republican Mary Kamp — the former president of the Warren City Council — and Sauger set to run opposite of Republican Mike Wiecek — a former longtime Warren council member — Peters and Hunt said they’re gearing up to play spoiler in their respective races in November.

Both men said they have the skills and the drive to make a difference politically if they’re successful, and neither is a stranger to write-in campaigns.

In 2007, Peters continued on as a write-in candidate for City Council after he failed to clear the primary. According to records held by the office of Warren City Clerk Paul Wojno, Peters received 763 official votes as write-in candidate in 2007. But Peters said that he could have received more had it not been for votes that may not have been counted because they included variations of his written-in name or because there were improperly marked ovals next to it.

As a result, he said that he’s taking no chances this year. Peters’ campaign signage instructs supporters on exactly what they must do to make sure their write-in votes for him count on Election Day.

Last summer, Peters survived Warren’s City Council primary to oppose incumbent Council member Robert Boccomino in the battle for District 5 last November. He lost by just 165 votes.

“You’re going to have to get people to believe that you are the guy — you’re not the person who’s there, and everybody is going to have to look over their shoulder,” Peters said. “I’m just trying to get voted in. I know I am their person. It’s just that I don’t have the war chest, and I don’t have the name recognition. But I do have the heart. I do have the self-sacrifice. I’m willing to give everything up — personal finances, my time — to get elected.”

Hunt finished last in the 2011 Warren mayoral primary, but later announced a write-in effort to oppose incumbent Mayor Jim Fouts and challenger Kathy Vogt. The records show that he netted 10 official write-in votes. But like Peters, Hunt said that he could have had more had it not been for variations of his written-in name and ballots that were not properly marked.

“I did a pretty good job at the polls: 647 people voted for me,” Hunt said of his finish in the Aug. 7 primary for the Macomb County Board of Commissioners’ District 2. “Pretty much, I think that I could do a better job than Mr. Wiecek or Mr. Sauger. A lot of people ask what does a Board of Commission (member) do. There’s a lot of resources from the county that are not being utilized here at the local level.

“I’ve been going to these meetings now for quite some time, since last November. What it comes down to is, we have no idea what’s going on at the county level, unless you go there,” Hunt said.

According to records filed with Macomb County elections officials, Hunt filed a declaration of intent to run as a write-in candidate on Aug. 9. Peters said on Aug. 29 that he intended to file that day to run as a write-in Democrat.

In order for their write-in votes to be counted in November, a candidate’s declaration of intent must be on file with the office of Macomb County Clerk Carmella Sabaugh no later than the Friday two weeks before the election.

Voters wishing to select write-in candidates, whether at the polls or by absentee voter ballot, must write the name of candidate on the ballot and darken the adjacent oval.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Brian Louwers at brianlouwers@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1089.

It is a shame because all they are doing is helping the incumbants, the exact people the want ousted.