Clinton Township election results

Sowerby, Valerio-Nowc to face off third time for state seat

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published August 19, 2020

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Women led the way in Clinton Township’s Aug. 4 primary election.

About 32.3% of registered township voters cast votes. There were 25,715 total votes, but only 7,046 individuals cast in-person ballots. A total of 22,995 absentee ballots were requested and 18,669 were returned — an approximate 81% return rate.

“A lot of ballots came in on election day,” Clinton Township Clerk Kim Meltzer said. “A steady stream until 8 p.m.”

In the Democratic primary for clerk, Carol Shumard Diehl defeated Bob Smith by a 54% to 46% margin.

Diehl, who will face Meltzer in November, is a 41-year resident of Clinton Township who has worked in the Macomb County Clerk’s Office and as part of Friend of the Court, associated with the Macomb County Circuit Court.

While discussing the results, she mentioned the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote.

“There is a positive vibe in our country for women … I am so proud of those women, and proud to be a woman,” Diehl said. “I’m very proud to be able to be part of the movement of women that are running for office, who want to be heard. And we will make a difference in this country and the township.”

In the trustee race, incumbent Jenifer “Joie” West was the top vote getter on the Democratic side, garnering 20.3% of the support in the six-person competition. The top four vote-getters advance to November and will face off against each other and the four Republican candidates — who ran unopposed in the primary — for four seats.

West is running for her fifth term as trustee.

“It feels great,” West said. “This was such a hard campaign to read. You can’t go door to door, you could do mailers. You could do calls, text messages. I had really no idea where I was at. I think most people know I am who I am. What you see is what you get.”

She wants to “hit the ground running” and help to pick up businesses negatively affected by COVID-19, which includes hiring an economic development director and addressing financial shortfalls due to revenue sharing losses.

As someone who previously made “hard decisions” during the 2008 financial crisis, West foresees a “transformation” in township politics.

“It could very well be a majority of women on the board,” she said. “For most of the years I’ve been a trustee, it’s been either just me or just me and Kim (Meltzer). I think you’re going to have a different tenor.”

Tammy Patton finished second on the Democratic side, earning 19.5% of the votes. Patton, a 16-year township resident, said she attended a board meeting in February and decided it was her time to run.

“You have to have a seat at the table to make changes,” Patton said.

She has been active in the community, part of various committees and Chippewa Valley Schools initiatives. It was her first foray in politics, saying her signs out in the community helped her candidacy.

“I thought it was pretty profound that more women were selected,” she said. “I just think it’s a great time for women to stand up, and we’re being counted. It’s a great thing.”

Laura Cardamone received the third-most votes at 19.1%. She said she appreciated the voters and that she wants to make a “great” township even better.

Incumbent Mike Keys rounded out the top four Democratic finishers with 18.2% of the vote. Keys hopes to be reelected and continue to improve the township’s ethics policy, as well as focus on economic development — namely in the south end.

“We must devote more resources to our corridors and support initiatives to increase investment throughout the township. … Across the county and state we saw a wave of support for female candidates, and I am honored to have the opportunity to run alongside such strong leaders,” Keys said.

Those four candidates will face off against Republicans Mike Aiello, Joe Aragona, Phil Rode and Kenneth A. Tardie.


State rep race a third-time rematch
Democrat Bill Sowerby, who currently represents District 31 in the Michigan House, defeated opponent Michelle Robertson 57% to 43%. On the Republican side, Lisa Valerio-Nowc defeated Austin Negipe, 60% to 40%.

This will be the third consecutive time Sowerby and Valerio-Nowc will face off in a November election. Sowerby said he will campaign as he did in the primary: to emphasize the wearing of masks and social distancing, as well as avoiding crowded spaces.

If successful, this will be the last term he can serve in the state Legislature. He was first elected in 2016. He said he will keep fighting for public education, lifting wages, workers’ rights, protecting natural resources and ensuring clean water.

“There’s still a lot to do in Lansing,” he said. “I’m going to be working hard here in the coming weeks to help other state representative Democrat candidates to get elected so we can take back the majority in the house, which I feel will help people better in our state.”

Valerio-Nowc said she received the best numbers she’s had in running for this seat, understanding she has a “hard run” this fall.

Her campaign platform includes advocating for safer communities, stronger schools and getting citizens back to work while correcting the “unemployment situation.”

“We just need a better voice and a stronger voice in Lansing that will really represent the district,” said Valerio-Nowc, who intends to conduct online webinars and some door-to-door campaigning.