Incumbents dominate in Sterling council election

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published November 3, 2015


Mayor Michael Taylor and the rest of the incumbent Sterling Heights City Council decisively defeated a challenger slate of candidates Nov. 3.
According to unofficial results posted on Sterling Heights’ website, with all 32 precincts counted, Mayor Michael Taylor earned 13,266 votes, beating the challenger, Paul Smith, who earned 3,066 votes. The mayoral term lasts two years.

Taylor’s 80.88-18.69 percent victory means that this is the first time he has been officially elected by voters as mayor. He made the transition from being mayor pro tem to being mayor in 2014, when the City Council appointed him to the top role following the death of former Mayor Richard Notte.

When the election results were tabulated, Taylor said he won by more than 10,000 votes, and he praised voters for “doing the right thing and re-electing the entire City Council.”

Taylor said the incumbent City Council’s “very wide margin” of victory indicates that voters are overwhelmingly happy about the direction that the city is heading.

“I can’t wait to keep moving the city forward,” Taylor said.

An email sent to Smith the night of Nov. 3 asking for comment about the election has not yet been returned.

As for the rest of the council election, all six of the other existing incumbent council members also won by decisive margins.

Joseph Romano earned 11,443 votes, or 12.94 percent; Barbara Ziarko earned 10,803 votes, or 12.22 percent; Deanna Koski earned 10,570 votes, or 11.95 percent; Nate Shannon earned 10,533 votes, or 11.91 percent; Doug Skrzyniarz earned 10,462 votes, or 11.83 percent; and Maria Schmidt earned 10,328 votes, or 11.68 percent.

Among the challengers, Joseph Judnick earned 5,281 votes, or 5.97 percent; Jackie Ryan earned 4,602 votes, or 5.20 percent; Jazmine Early earned 4,113 votes, or 4.65 percent; Moira Smith earned 3,711 votes, or 4.20 percent; Sanaa Elias earned 3,699 votes, or 4.18 percent; and Verna Babula earned 2,825 votes, or 3.19 percent.

Before the final results came in, Elias said she visited the voting precinct at Bemis Junior High School on Election Day. She said she found that the turnout started out slow but was getting a little better, adding that “you always like to see more voter turnout.”

According to the online results, voter turnout in Sterling Heights was estimated at approximately 19.4 percent.

Elias said she put her efforts into meeting and talking to voters.

“We did the legwork. We did the door-to-door,” she said.

Learn more about Sterling Heights by visiting or by calling (586) 446-2489.