BOC race to feature new candidate as chair loses primary

Dennis Mansfield, Contributing Writer

KALKASKA – Every election has its share of surprises. That included Tuesday’s primary election, which ended with a veteran county commissioner and chairman of the Kalkaska County Board of Commissioner losing his seat.

District No. 2 Commissioner Stuart McKinnon, currently chairman of the county board, was seeking his fifth two-year term but was defeated in the Aug. 7 primary by challenger and fellow Republican, Leigh Lewis, 273-198, according to unofficial results posted late Tuesday night by the Kalkaska County Clerk’s Office.

Lewis will now try to keep the District No. 2 seat, which includes Coldsprings and Rapid River townships, when facing Fred Vonalt, who was unopposed on the Democratic side of the ticket, in the November general election.

McKinnon wasn’t the only incumbent to fall on Tuesday. District No. 1 Commissioner Truman Bicum, who was appointed to the board after the resignation of former Commissioner Michael Buchanan earlier this year.

Bicum won’t have the chance to win a full term in office, after falling in the Republican primary to challenger John West in a tight race, 206-196. West will now face Democrat Gerald Grieve, who garnered 192 votes Tuesday.

McKinnon and Bicum were the only two commissioners on the seven-member board to face a challenger in the primary election, with both losing. The remaining five commissioners will advance to the general election, where three incumbents – District No. 3 Commissioner Kohn Fisher (429 votes), District No. 5 Commissioner Dave Comai (296) and District No. 7 Commissioner Patty Cox (228) – are again unopposed.

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