Voters at the Troy Community Center wait in line to vote just after 5 p.m. on Election Day.

Voters at the Troy Community Center wait in line to vote just after 5 p.m. on Election Day.

Photo by Donna Agusti

Newcomers prevail, voters lean Democratic

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published November 13, 2018


TROY — Incumbent Republican candidates lost their bids to keep their seats in the state Senate and the Oakland County Board of Commissioners Nov. 6.

Newcomer Democrat Padma Kuppa defeated former Troy City Councilman and county Commissioner Doug Tietz to win an open seat in the state House of Representatives.

According to unofficial results, in the state House race for the 41st District, Tietz garnered 21,170 votes to Kuppa’s 22,317 votes.

Kuppa will take the seat currently held by Republican Martin Howrylak, who is term limited.

In a prepared statement, Kuppa said, “I would like to thank this community and all our supporters for standing with me on this incredible journey, and (I) congratulate Doug on a hard-fought race. Running to represent my hometown has been so rewarding — meeting and reconnecting with so many of my neighbors and friends, new and old, and listening to their concerns, talking about our shared values.”

According to unofficial results, in the state Senate’s 13th District, Democrat Mallory McMorrow edged out incumbent Republican Marty Knollenberg with 73,138 votes to his 67,798 votes.

Incumbent Republican Wade Fleming lost his seat as county commissioner for the 16th District, garnering 12,039 votes to Democrat Penny Luebs’ 13,844 votes.

In the race for the open seat on the Oakland County Board of Commissioners for the 11th District, Republican Thomas Kuhn received 15,190 votes to defeat Democrat Ann Erickson Gault, who got 13,611 votes.

In the Troy School District, voters overwhelmingly approved a replacement operating millage proposal with 20,124 yes votes to 8,649 no votes, according to unofficial results.

Troy School District Superintendent Rich Machesky said via email that they are pleased with the results.

“Again, our community’s overwhelming support points to the importance of an exemplary education system to the city of Troy. Thanks to our community, our students will continue to benefit as we seek to fulfill our vision, World Class 2020.”

Troy City Clerk Aileen Dickson said there were no problems in any precincts in Troy on Election Day, despite the high turnout for a midterm election, which she estimated to be 65 percent. Voter turnout for the last presidential election was 73 percent.

“We had a great day,” Dickson said. “Every precinct was crowded all day long.”

She credited the media with informing voters that they could expect lines at the polls, and she said that everyone was understanding.

Dickson said that the absentee voter turnout was close to the turnout in presidential elections. Of the 13,200 absentee ballots requested, 12,800 were cast.

Each ballot was scanned, and although staff started the high-speed scanner at 7 a.m. Election Day, the last ballot was not scanned until after 4 a.m. Nov. 7.

“This was the first major election for the new equipment,” Dickson said. “We had no problem with the machines. We just need more equipment.”

Dickson said she plans, as part of the budget process this year, to request an additional high-speed scanner, which costs about $100,000.

She believes that the passage of the statewide proposal that will authorize voting by absentee ballot for any reason will cause the number of absentee voters to spike, even spurring voters who would not vote in a City Council election, which typically has lower turnout, to vote by absentee ballot.

In contrast with the state passage for the use of recreational marijuana, with 65.13 percent of voters approving it and 34.87 percent opposing it, the proposal failed in Troy by 1,000 votes.

In the gubernatorial race, Democrat Gretchen Whitmer garnered 50.23 percent of the statewide vote to Republican Bill Schuette’s 46.84 percent. Typically Republican-leaning Troy voters elected Whitmer by 3,000 votes.

In 2014, Troy voters elected Gov. Rick Snyder by 10,000 votes and by 11,000 votes in 2010.

Troy resident Alysa Mazur, 25, said she had no problems voting at her precinct, located at St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church, when she spoke with C & G Newspapers just before 5 p.m. on Election Day. She said she’s been voting for “a while” and would consider voting by absentee ballot because she works full time.