Primary settles some Shelby offices, trustees remain to be seen

By: Sarah Wojcik | Shelby - Utica News | Published August 3, 2016

 Treasurer Michael Flynn, left, and campaign supporter Paul Christy, right, look over primary election results at the Palazzo Grande in Shelby Township Aug. 2.

Treasurer Michael Flynn, left, and campaign supporter Paul Christy, right, look over primary election results at the Palazzo Grande in Shelby Township Aug. 2.

Photo by Patricia O'Blenes


Low numbers of voters in Shelby Township made it to the polls in the primary election Tuesday, Aug. 2. Clerk Stanley Grot said more residents sent in absentee ballots than came to the polls.

Voters opted to retain several Republican incumbents: Supervisor Rick Stathakis, Clerk Stanley Grot and Treasurer Michael Flynn. Grot ran unopposed. There are no challengers to them on the Nov. 8 general election ballot.

But on that same ballot, five candidates likely will run for four trustee positions.

The primary established four Republican trustee candidates, including incumbent Trustee Doug Wozniak and newcomers Vince Viviano, Lynn Wilhelm and John Vermeulen. Judy Guzzardo will appear as an independent candidate for trustee on the November ballot, pending certification by the Clerk’s Office.

“As far as signatures, (Guzzardo) had over 400. The minimum (required to get on the ballot) was 300,” Grot said Aug. 3. “We haven’t decided anything yet because we’ve been too busy with elections, but we’re going to (check to make sure she met all the criteria) in the next couple of days.”

Guzzardo said she decided to file because, at 76 years old, she always had an interest in her community and thought it was time to step in and try her best.

“I have no ulterior motives at all. I just want a better quality of life for everyone here,” she said. “I know it’s against all odds, but I’m going to give it a shot.”

Trustee Paula Filar opted not to run for re-election, Trustee Paul Viar ran for the position of Macomb County treasurer and lost, and Trustee Nick Nightingale ran for the position of Shelby Township treasurer and lost.

Stathakis beat Richard Batchelder, a retired firefighter, 61 percent to 39 percent — or 5,413 to 3,466. Batchelder declined to comment immediately.

“It’s been an exciting night. I’m excited for our new team. I’m excited for Shelby Township,” Stathakis said Aug. 2. “We’re going to take the continued spirit of working together to get done these big things we need to get done. I’m quite confident it will be a great next four years.”

Stathakis, along with Flynn, Wozniak, Wilhelm, Viviano, Grot and Anthony Apone, who lost the race for trustee, made appearances at a results party attended by more than 200 people at the Palazzo Grande Aug. 2.

Flynn beat Nightingale 58.7 percent to 41.3 percent — or 5,017 to 3,532. Flynn could not immediately be reached for comment.

“I’m not sure what my next steps are. I’m still trying to figure that out,” Nightingale said. “I’m not disappointed. Frankly, to be honest with you, I’m kind of excited to get to new endeavors. I love Shelby Township.”

Grot and his staff reported results from all 29 precincts in Shelby Township before 10:30 p.m. Aug. 2.

“I think the voters have spoken. It’s the will of the people, and whoever went out there and went door to door and met as many people as possible was rewarded,” Grot said Aug. 2. “It was a very low turnout — below average, actually.”

He said he believed more people turned in absentee ballots than attended polling locations for the sake of convenience.

“My job is to conduct honest and fair elections, which we’ve been doing, and this is another flawless election,” Grot said. “I’m going to continue to be the conservative voice on the board, and I’m going to provide the best services for our residents at the least possible cost.”

He thanked the voters who exercised their right to vote Aug. 2 and encouraged everyone to come out and vote in the upcoming general election in November.