Voters choose local candidates to run in November election

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published August 10, 2021

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GROSSE POINTES FARMS/PARK/SHORES — A handful of local primaries kept voters busy this summer, but most of those voters cast their ballots ahead of the Aug. 3 election.

Attorneys Charles Berschback and Kevin M. Smith, both of Grosse Pointe Farms, will be facing off against each other in the general election in November to become the new municipal court judge for the Grosse Pointe Farms/Shores Municipal Court.

According to unofficial vote tallies available at press time, Berschback received 61.88% of the total vote in the Farms and 54.87% of the total vote in the larger, Wayne County portion of Grosse Pointe Shores, while Smith received 22.99% of the vote in the Farms and 14.47% in the Wayne County segment of the Shores. In the tiny Macomb County portion of the Shores, Berschback received nine votes, Dean C. Metry received 14 votes and Smith received two votes. Metry, of the Shores, who was eliminated during the primary, received 30.23% of the vote in the Wayne County segment of the Shores and 14.97% in the Farms, but the Farms is larger and has more voters, so Smith received more total votes than Metry. The primary election was to whittle the race down to two judicial candidates.

The winner of the November race will succeed incumbent Farms/Shores Municipal Court Judge Matthew Rumora, who can’t run again because of age restrictions.

In the Farms, the vast majority — 75.26% — of ballots were cast absentee. Results show that 21.29% of registered Farms voters — or 1,949 out of a total of 9,155 registered voters — cast ballots in the primary. In the Wayne County portion of the Shores, 77.1% of primary voters cast absentee ballots. The overall turnout in the Wayne County section of the Shores was about 18%, or 463 out of 2,608 registered voters.

Farms City Clerk/Assistant City Manager Derrick Kozicki said by email that the Farms used three precincts instead of five for the primary because Precincts 1 and 2, and Precincts 3 and 4 “were combined temporarily due to anticipated lower voter turnout.”

Turnout was slightly better in Grosse Pointe Park, where voters were asked to eliminate one out of the pool of seven City Council candidates to arrive at the six candidates who’ll be vying for one of three seats in November.

Park City Councilwoman Darci McConnell, who was appointed last fall to fill a council vacancy, was the only incumbent and the second-highest primary vote-getter, with 16.6% of the total, according to unofficial election results available at press time. Other candidates who’ll appear on the November ballot include top vote-getter Max Wiener, with 16.68% of the total; Christine Gallagher, with 16.49%; Thomas Caulfield, with 15.25%; Jeff Greer, with 14.53%; and Tim Kolar, with 13.73%. Brian Brenner, the eliminated candidate, received 6.64% of the vote.

Approximately 31.07% of the Park’s 10,258 registered voters — or 3,187 — participated in the primary election. As was true for the Farms and Shores, most of those voters — almost 56.5% — used absentee ballots to cast their votes.