Miller tops Wojno in county clerk Dems race

Spranger emerges as Republican challenger

By: Brian Louwers | Online Only | Published August 3, 2016

MACOMB COUNTY — Fred Miller may succeed longtime Macomb County Clerk Carmella Sabaugh, following “a model campaign” battle between two well-known political names on the Democratic side.

A member of the Macomb County Board of Commissioners who represents residents in Mount Clemens and portions of Clinton Township and Harrison Township, Miller took 40 percent of the vote among three Democrats on Aug. 2. Warren City Clerk Paul Wojno, currently serving the first year of his third four-year term, finished second with 34.2 percent, and Denise Doherty finished third with 25.8 percent.

Miller served in the Michigan House of Representatives from 2005 to 2010 prior to his election to the Macomb County Board of Commissioners.

He was endorsed by Sabaugh after the incumbent clerk withdrew from the race following the filing deadline in April, and later brushed aside speculation that his own last-minute filing in the clerk’s race and the decision to withdraw his Macomb County Board of Commissioners re-election bid was part of an arrangement with Sabaugh to transfer power.

Of the two well-known Democrats, Miller and Wojno, Sabaugh later said, “Maybe one’s stronger than the other,” and stood by her endorsement of Miller. 

“Feeling very grateful today,” Miller said by text message on Aug. 3. “November will be here soon. We have a lot of ground to cover between now and then.”

With the campaign on the Democratic side now over and Miller poised to take on Republican Karen Spranger, of Warren, in November, Wojno said he called to congratulate his opponent on election night.

“This has probably been a model campaign for others to follow. His campaign and mine, there was no negative literature,” Wojno said. “I’ll be working with him. I think he’s absolutely going to win in November, and I’m supporting him on the November ballot, absolutely.”

On the Republican side, Spranger, who last year ran for mayor of Warren against Jim Fouts, narrowly emerged from a field of four candidates. She bested Julie Ann Williams by just 311 votes, according to the unofficial results.

In all, Macomb County boasted an 18 percent voter turnout. Read on for a quick breakdown of the other major county races.

Public Works Commissioner
U.S. Rep. Candice Miller will face Democratic incumbent Anthony Marrocco after she defeated Joseph Hunt in the Republican primary race, with 81.3 percent (45,368 votes) compared to Hunt’s 18.7 percent (10,413 votes). Marrocco, running unopposed, received 40,078 votes.

Paul M. Smith (53.5 percent, 24,144 votes) edged Philip Neumeyer (46.5 percent, 21,019 votes) on the Republican side, and will face off against Democratic incumbent Anthony Wickersham (42,544 votes).

Larry Rocca (44.5 percent, 21,235 votes) emerged from a three-person race on the Republican side, besting Erin Stahl (39.2 percent, 18,708 votes) and Paul Viar (16.4 percent, 7,826 votes). Democrat Derek E. Miller (40,504 votes), appointed to the treasurer role earlier this year following the death of Ted Wahby, ran unopposed.

Prosecuting Attorney
Democratic incumbent Eric J. Smith (42,861 votes) and Republican challenger Michael R. Wrathell (42,113 votes) both ran unopposed.

Circuit Court Judge
In the non-incumbent Macomb County 16th Circuit Court judge race, four out of the five candidates running in the primary will be on the November ballot vying for two six-year terms. Michael E. Servitto (40.2 percent, 56,455 votes) was the top vote-getter, followed by Racheal Rancilio (28.2 percent, 39,601 votes), Teri Lynn Dennings (15.5 percent, 21,718 votes) and Armand Velardo (8.6 percent, 12,127 votes). Beth deBaptiste-Follis (7.5 percent, 10,554 votes) finished in fifth, and will not be on the November ballot.

Staff Writer Julie Snyder contributed to this report.