Republican sheriff keeps job among Democratic winners in Oakland County

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published November 10, 2020




OAKLAND COUNTY — The unofficial election results are in, and longtime Oakland County Sheriff Michael J. Bouchard defeated Democratic challenger Vincent Gregory 54.36%, or 410,951 votes, to 45.51%, or 344,003 votes.

Bouchard, 64, will assume his sixth four-year term as sheriff, a role he has held since 1999, the sole Republican among Democratic-dominated top offices across the county.

Bouchard previously served as a Michigan senator, a state representative, a village of Beverly Hills councilman and as a police officer for 33 years.

In his questionnaire to C & G Newspapers, Bouchard said “better hiring and better training leads to better outcomes.”

“We need a state-of-the-art training center built for law enforcement in the county. To hold police more accountable, we need to focus on training to produce better results,” he wrote. “I’ll continue to focus on getting police reform enacted in the capitol. I’m proud to be the only sheriff from Michigan ever named national sheriff of the year.”

Gregory, 72, is a retired Wayne County Sheriff’s detective, former Oakland County commissioner, former state representative and former state senator who currently volunteers at the Judson Center.

In a statement following the election, Bouchard thanked voters for their support and confidence.

“I know it is a testimony to our great team that I was re-elected. I also know my votes came from Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. My job is not partisan. I am greatly appreciative of the board support as I have always believed my job is to protect and serve all of Oakland County,” Bouchard said. “I am honored to be your Sheriff and am I excited to begin the next chapter. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Oakland County Executive David Coulter, a Democrat and the former mayor of Ferndale who was appointed to the position in 2019 following the death of L. Brooks Patterson, secured a four-year term against Republican challenger Mike Kowall — former state senator, state representative, Oakland County economic and legislative liaison, family business owner, and carpenter — with 54.8%, or 407,582 votes, to 43.58%, or 324,119 votes.

Coulter also secured a partial term for county executive against Kowall ending Dec. 31, 2020, with a higher margin — 55.87%, or 410,673 votes, to 44%, or 323,468 votes.

Democrat Karen McDonald, a former Oakland County Circuit Court judge who upset incumbent prosecutor Jessica Cooper in the primary election, won a four-year term against Republican Lin Goetz for the position of Oakland County Prosecuting Attorney — with 56.92%, or 415,652 votes, to 42.96%, or 313,668 votes.

Incumbent Democratic Clerk/Register of Deeds Lisa Brown, elected to the position in 2013, defeated Republican challenger Tina Barton, the Rochester Hills city clerk, with 55.82%, or 406,846, to 44.09%, or 321,338 votes.

Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner stepped down to run for county executive and was defeated in the primary election. Democratic State Rep. Robert Wittenberg, who had reached term limits for that position, subsequently won the race for county treasurer over Republican opponent Joe Kent, an Oxford tax accountant. Wittenberg won with 53.77%, or 390,681 votes, to 46.12%, or 335,077 votes.

Democrat Jim Nash, a former Oakland County commissioner, held on to his title as Oakland County water resources commissioner against Republican opponent Jim Stevens, with 56.66%, or 410,710 votes, to 43.22%, or 313,338 votes.

Other local elected officials determined by voters Nov. 3 include incumbent Democratic District 26 state Rep. Jim Ellison, the former mayor of Royal Oak, who defeated Republican opponent Chris Meister with 63.54%, or 33,202 votes, to 36.28%, or 18,956 votes.

Incumbent Democratic District 41 state Rep. Padma Kuppa defeated Republican challenger Andrew J. Sosnoski with 54.99%, or 30,578 votes, to 44.9%, or 24,967 votes.

In the District 16 Oakland County Board of Commissioners race, incumbent Democrat Penny Luebs, the former mayor of Clawson, secured a two-year term against Republican opponent Matt Pryor, with 54.55%, or 17,877 votes, to 45.37%, or 14,866 votes.

In the District 19 Oakland County Board of Commissioners race, incumbent Democrat and Chairman of the Board David Woodward, of Royal Oak, secured a two-year term against Republican opponent Pamela Lindell, of Royal Oak, with 63.54%, or 23,452 votes, to 36.35%, or 13,421 votes.