Voters walk in and out of Chippewa Valley High School, in Clinton Township, on Nov. 3. Lines were long when polls opened at 7 a.m., but shortened as the day went on.

Voters walk in and out of Chippewa Valley High School, in Clinton Township, on Nov. 3. Lines were long when polls opened at 7 a.m., but shortened as the day went on.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Clinton Township supervisor, clerk, treasurer incumbents reelected

Democrats Sowerby, Matuzak win elections

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published November 9, 2020


CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Incumbents in Clinton Township’s biggest political offices had a very good general election.

Supervisor Bob Cannon, Clerk Kim Meltzer and Treasurer Paul Gieleghem all won reelection, joining four Democratic trustee victors that will make the Township Board of Trustees a 5-2 Democratic majority.

Four Democratic trustee candidates—incumbent Mike Keys, Laura Cardamone, Tammy Patton and incumbent Jenifer “Joie” West—compose the rest of the board, defeating four Republican challengers.

Cannon defeated Democrat Jason Davidson, the former president of the Clintondale Community Schools Board of Education, 28,586 votes (53.5%) to 24,833 votes (46.5%), according to unofficial results from the Macomb County Clerk/Register of Deeds Office.

Cannon, a Republican who first elected as supervisor in 2000, said one reason he ran again was “unfinished business” related to further improving the Gratiot Avenue and Groesbeck Highway corridors, and implementing a master plan that has recently been in the works.

“It’s always nice to win another term, and I’m still pleased voters want me to represent them in this capacity as supervisor,” Cannon said Nov. 4.

Prior to becoming supervisor, he served 16 years as a township trustee. In his 37th year of public service, he called this race “the most difficult and strangest election year I have been part of.”

As for the Democratic majority, Cannon said the board will be “fine.”

“The women who are now on the board—we have never had that many females on the township board,” he said. “I know the two new members (Laura Cardamone and Tammy Patton). Very honorable.”

Meltzer, the other Republican, defeated Democratic challenger Carol Shumard Diehl 29,852 votes (55.9%) to 23,545 (44.1%).

“I’m grateful that the people have trusted me representing them with integrity, and affirming that my work product and work ethic is what the people want to see lead the township,” Meltzer said.

She praised her “incredible team” for “amazing productivity” throughout this pandemic, from her Deputy Clerk Kim Irvine to temporary election workers and others.

Clinton Township completed counting its votes by about 2 a.m. election night.

As for the new board for the next four years, Meltzer said she has long been friends with Patton and that it’s yet to be seen how votes are cast regarding future issues.

Gieleghem won his second term as treasurer after defeating Republican Robert Brandenburg 28,334 votes (53.5%) to 24,647 (46.5%).

While a “red wave” of sorts took over major Macomb County seats, Gieleghem was “really encouraged” by the number of people who voted and participated in democracy. Total votes this year surpassed those in the 2016 election, notably votes issued by absentee ballots.

He said candidates have to have real conversations with the public, be likable, approachable and authentic. He added that mailers and “hit pieces” that circulated pre-election were not enough to persuade voters to sway from certain candidates.

“I think voters don’t like it when people aren’t authentic and when someone is trying to buy their vote,” he said, adding that economic development is probably the biggest issue moving forward.

The new board will officially take over Nov. 20, with each of the seven members having four-year terms.


Sowerby wins again; Democrat Matuzak wins very close race to become commissioner
Democratic Rep. Bill Sowerby was standing on the Michigan House floor in Lansing Nov. 5, honored that voters sent him back to the Legislature for his third and final term to represent District 31.

He once again defeated Republican Lisa Valerio-Nowc, 26,198 votes (56.3%) to 20,359 votes (43.7%). The district covers Clinton Township, Mount Clemens and Fraser.

“Clearly, our state is still very much divided,” Sowerby said. “I think that any elected official, no matter what party they’re from, has to figure out how to listen better to all sides and not just speak their mind if we are really going to figure out the divisions that we have amongst the voters.”

While intentions to flip the House fell short, he said he will continue to fight for good jobs, higher wages, healthcare and protecting the environment.

Democrat Julie Matuzak, of Clinton Township, defeated Republican James Perna 17,498 votes (50.3%) to 17,282 votes (49.7%) to win the District 12 seat on the Macomb County Board of Commissioners.

She referenced former U.S. Rep. Thomas “Tip” O’Neill and said that all county commissioners, no matter what political ideology, can work together to improve road infrastructure, drains, and services for seniors and veterans.

“I’m honored that people picked me and I’m looking forward to working with the new commissioners, and I think there’s lots of common ground with the new Republican majority,” she said. “All politics is local, and local issues deeply affect people. I think as county commissioners, we have an opportunity to focus on the local stuff and not the national divisive issues.”