On Aug. 2, the Royal Oak Farmers Market hosted precincts 5 and 9 for the primary election.

On Aug. 2, the Royal Oak Farmers Market hosted precincts 5 and 9 for the primary election.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Royal Oak, Clawson voters select candidates, approve library millage

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published August 8, 2022


ROYAL OAK/CLAWSON — In the Aug. 2 primary election, voters in Royal Oak and Clawson cemented which Democratic and Republican candidates in local, state and federal races will go head to head in the November election and approved a millage for the Royal Oak Public Library.

City clerks in Royal Oak and Clawson reported that, like many clerks in the area, they both saw large increases in the number of absentee voters who participated in the primary election.

Royal Oak City Clerk Melanie Halas said 37.32% of the city’s 50,319 registered voters participated in the Aug. 2 primary election, with 9,507 casting absentee ballots and 9,276 voting in person.

“I expected this number to be higher as we had 43% who voted in 2018, however our absentee ballots that were cast have doubled since then,” Halas wrote in an email. “We did have some last minute cancellations due to workers being sick. Our election workers did an amazing job, even with the shortage in a few precincts.”

She added that she will be hiring additional workers in November, as she expects the polls to be busier.

Clawson City Clerk August Gitschlag said 33% of the city’s 9,864 registered voters participated in the Aug. 2 primary election, with 1,614 casting absentee ballots and 1,733 voting in person.

“I was expecting 33%,” Gitschlag wrote in an email. “We had to reboot and resend one precinct so the modem would transmit, but it worked just fine after that.”

He said that more than half of voters cast absentee ballots as a result of the large, permanent absentee voter list that the city built as a result of the 2020 election during COVID-19, and that a third of the absentee voter ballots came in within 36 hours before the deadline to turn them in, mostly via city drop boxes.

“(The election went) smoothly,” Gitschlag said. “We have really good workers. We’ve been fortunate in that perspective. It makes it easier.”

Those who won their primaries now advance to the general election Nov. 8.

The main focus will be the race to become the governor of Michigan, which will be between incumbent Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who ran unopposed, and Republican candidate Tudor Dixon, who won against Ryan Kelley, Ralph Rebandt, Kevin Rinke and Garrett Soldano.

Another race with national attention was the primary for Michigan’s 11th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. For the Democrats, Haley Stevens defeated Andy Levin, while on the Republican side, Mark Ambrose beat Matthew DenOtter.

Other elections in the Royal Oak Review’s coverage area focused on the state Legislature and local offices.

For the 3rd District in the Michigan State Senate, Stephanie Chang defeated Toinu Reeves in the Democratic Party primary. There were no candidates on the Republican side of the ballot.

In the 8th District in the Michigan State Senate, Mallory McMorrow beat Marshall Bullock to represent the Democrats and will face Republican Brandon Ronald Simpson, who ran unopposed.

In the 5th District for the Michigan House of Representatives, Democrat Natalie Price beat Reggie Reg Davis, Steele Hughes, Ksenia Milstein and Michelle Wooddell. For the Republicans, Paul Taros defeated Keith Albertie.

For the Michigan House’s 6th District, Democrat Regina Weiss beat Danielle Hall, Myya Jones and Mark Murphy. She will face Republican Charles Villerot, who ran unopposed.

Democrat Helena Scott beat Melanie Macey and Grant Rivet in the primary for the Michigan House’s 7th District. There were no candidates on the Republican side of the ballot.

And for the 56th District of the Michigan House, Sharon MacDonell won the Democratic Party nomination over Cyndi Peltonen. MacDonell will face Republican Mark Gunn, who ran unopposed in the Aug. 2 primary election, in the general election in November.

All of the candidates running for the Oakland County Board of Commissioners in Royal Oak and Clawson were unopposed in the primary. The candidates are Democrat Dave Woodward and Republican Chris Meister in District 1, Democrat Penny Luebs and Republican Ken Roberts in District 2, and Democrat Charlie Cavell and Republican Joseph C. Pucci in District 19.

In the primary for the judge of the 52nd District Court 4th Division, Kirsten Nielsen Hartig and Tonya Goetz finished first and second and will advance to the general election.

The Royal Oak Public Library millage proposal, which helps operate, maintain and equip the library, passed by a wide margin. In all, 11,993 voters approved the millage while 4,722 voted against the millage.

Staff Writer Mike Koury contributed to this report.