Incumbents, new faces make up city councils
Voting was light for candidates for local government and libraries on Tuesday, November 7, with unchallenged incumbents in Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills retaining their seats on their city commission, a write-in candidate becoming a first-time commissioner in Bloomfield Hills, and Rochester and Rochester Hills welcoming a mix of old and new faces to their city councils.
All five city commission seats were open in Bloomfield Hills, and four of the five city commissioners ran for reelection and handily retained their seats. Out of 3,625 registered voters, 1,855 votes were cast on Tuesday, along with 516 absentee ballots, as the electorate returned commissioners Mike Coakley, Susan McCarthy, Sarah McClure and Stuart Sherr to their seats at the commission table for another two-year term. The vote totals for each were close, with Sherr receiving 425, or 22.91 percent of the vote; McCarthy, 419, or 22.59 percent; Coakley, who had 416 votes, or 22.43 percent; and McClure, with 410 votes, for 22.1 percent of the vote.
The final seat is to be determined by a write-in contest between planning board member William Hosler and resident Mark Kapel, but results will not be known until the board of canvassers comes in and counts the results and certifies the election, Bloomfield Hills clerk Amy Burton said.
“They’re not hand-counted. We will not know the final results until they are certified, which is not until Thursday at the earliest,” she said.
“I’m glad the four incumbents were reelected because we all work well together,” said McClure. “We all bring different skill sets.”
“I’m excited and I want to thank everyone who voted,” McCarthy said. “I’m thrilled to be on the commission to continue working on the roads, supporting fire and police, and preserving the unique beauty of the city. We all work well together and everyone brings these unique skill sets. We focus on what’s right.”
Three of the seven Birmingham city commission seats were open, with incumbents Rackeline Hoff, Mark Nickita and Stuart Sherman running unopposed. Hoff was returned to the commission for her fifth four-year term, receiving 1,329 votes, or 34.4 percent of the 3,863 votes cast out of about 16,000 registered voters in Birmingham. Nickita, finishing his second time as mayor and second commission term, had 1,301 votes for 33.68 percent, and Sherman received 1,207 votes, for 31.25 percent of ballots ballots cast.
“I’m pleased to have another four years to serve the city, and look forward to continuing moving the city in a positive direction,” Nickita said.
“I’m honored to continue serving the residents of Birmingham for another four years,” said Sherman, who will serve his fourth term as a commissioner. Hoff could not be reached.
Four candidates ran for three open Baldwin Library board seats, each for four years, with Melissa Mark, Ashley Aidenbaum and incumbent Frank Pisano winning to become board members. Mark had 1,268 votes, for 30.58 percent of the vote; Aidenbaum received 1,084 votes, for 26.14 percent; and Pisano, 1,073, for 25.87 percent of the votes cast.
Rochester City Council candidates Dean Bevacqua and Nancy Salvia, along with incumbents Stuart Bikson and Ann Peterson, will be joining fellow Rochester City Council members following the city's general election on Tuesday, November 7, where six candidates ran for four open seats.
Bikson, who took the third most votes on Tuesday, will serve a new four-year term. Councilwoman Peterson, who received the fourth highest votes, will serve a two-year term. Both Salvia, who took the most votes, with 22.30 percent, and Bevacqua, who took 20.94 percent, will serve four-year terms.
Candidates Tammy Byers took 11.42 percent of the total 4,972 votes cast on Tuesday, while Lynn Campo took 9.05 percent.
Tuesday's win is the seventh consecutive victory for Bikson, who has previously served as the city’s mayor.
"It's always an honor to be re-elected, but when you get elected seven times it feels good and is a great honor, and it makes me want to keep working" Bikson said. Bikson also congratulated Bevacqua and Salvia on their results.
"Those were the two that did the work and they campaigned hard from what I could tell," he said. "When people don't do much of anything, they don't usually win. It's a tough part of running for office and being in public, but you have to put yourself out there and do it."
The new faces on council come with the departure of longtime councilman and former mayor Jeffrey Cuthbertson and current mayor, Cathy Daldin.
Councilwoman Peterson said a change in the dynamic of the board could be one with more independent voters, rather than larger blocks of council voting the same way on city issues.
"I think that is going to be a big change because we're going to get some new perspective, which is always positive," Peterson said. "You need to have change or it gets stagnant. It shows that people want new voices."
Two new faces will be joining the Rochester Hills City Council in the upcoming term, as candidates Jenny McCardell and Ryan Deel won their election bids on Tuesday. Incumbents Stephanie Morita and Jim Kubicina will return to council after running unopposed in their districts, the 1st and 2nd, respectively.
A close race for the city's at-large position pitted incumbent Kevin Brown against newcomer McCardell, who beat Brown by less than a half of percentage point. In total, only 39 votes separated the candidates, with McCardell taking 4,025 votes and Brown receiving 3,986.
White state law permits a vote recount if a race is within one percentage point, Brown said he isn't considering a request.
"To be honest, I've been an election worker for (city clerk) Tina Barton and her staff in the past, and I have the highest confidence that they did their job," he said.
Brown said McCardell and Deel will be joining a hard working city council and outstanding city staff.
"They have a very strong core, and Ryan Deel with be a very strong addition to that team," he said. "After being on council for four years, you don't really understand prior how good those staff members are. We have won many awards and I would be remiss to think that was all because of council. It's because of our staff."
Candidate Ryan Deel had strong support from voters in the city's 4th District, where he took 64.21 percent of the 1,386 votes, compared to Ryan Smith's 35.64 percent, or 494 votes.
While unopposed, 18 of the 1,957 votes cast in Morita’s race were for unassigned write-in candidates. Eight write-in votes were cast in the city's 2nd District, where Kubicina won his second term with 2,068 votes.
Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan K. Barnett said Tuesday marked a hard-fought election.
"It was a pretty close race – just 39 votes," Barnett said about the at-large council seat race. "Kevin (Brown) and his family ran a good race. He's a veteran and a longtime community servant, and I don't think his activism will change."
While the makeup of the Rochester Hills council will be changing, Barnett said he doesn't expect any major shifts in the council's overall perspective.
"If you look at the way all four (candidates) ran, nobody ran against anything or wanted to change anything," he said. "This wasn't really a candidate running against the way things are going. I don't think you'll see a major change."
Tuesday's election also confirmed the return of Chuck Stouffer and Mary Jean "Madge" Lawson to the Rochester Hills Library Board, who both ran unopposed for the two open board seats. Stouffer, the current board president, took 44.91 percent of the vote and Lawson took 54.81 percent. Thirty-three write-in ballots were also cast in the race.
Click on the links below to find up-to-the-minute results.