Voters to complete remake of county board in general election

Dennis Mansfield, Contributing Writer

KALKASKA – With all seven seats of the Kalkaska County Board of Commissioners up for grabs, the county board is certainly set for a makeover in the upcoming general election on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

And, the individual races offer voters a variety of scenarios, from uncontested campaigns, a rematch between political foes to a battle between newcomers, with the incumbent already having been defeated.

There’s already been plenty of drama involving the county board, with two incumbents having lost their chance for re-election in the Aug. 7 primary election.

District No. 2 Commissioner Stuart McKinnon, currently the chairman of the county board, was seeking his fifth two-year term but was defeated in the primary by challenger and fellow Republican, Leigh Lewis, 273-198.

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

Joining McKinnon in defeat was District No. 1 Commissioner Truman Bicum, who was appointed to the board after the resignation of former Commissioner Michael Buchanan earlier this year.

Bicum also fell short in the Republican primary to challenger John West in a tight race, 206-196. West will now face Democrat Gerald Grieve.

Maybe one of the most interesting races is in District No. 4, where incumbent Republican James Sweet, who was unopposed in the primary, faces Democrat and former commissioner, Kevin Stein, in a battle to represent Garfield and Springfield townships. Stein defeated Sweet in the 2014 general election, only to lose to Sweet two years later.

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