• By Lisa Brody

Most 2020 candidates set after withdrawal date

A number of candidates withdrew from 2020 election races last week by the 4 p.m. Friday, April 24, withdrawal deadline, after originally filing for contests by the Tuesday, April 21, 4 p.m. deadline. Congressional and non-incumbent judicial candidates had received an extension until Friday, May 8, per a federal judge's ruling on Monday, April 20, which also halved the number of signatures required. The federal lawsuit argued that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's stay-at-home mandate made it tougher to gather the necessary signatures to run for these specific offices. Candidates for other positions had the option to pay a fee to appear on the ballot rather than gather signatures. However, Republican candidate Eric Esshaki of Birmingham, who had filed the federal lawsuit, managed to submit the required number of signatures to run in the 11th District race for Congress, as did fellow Republicans Carmelita Greco of Canton and former Rep. Kerry Bentivolio of Milford, giving Republicans a five-way primary in August to face incumbent Congresswoman Haley Stevens (D-Birmingham) in November. There will also be a Republican primary in the 9th District, with the last minute filing of Gabi Grossbard of Southfield, who will face Charles J. Langworthy of Roseville. The winner will go against Congressman Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Township) in November. There were last minute drop-outs in the 40th District state House race on both sides of the aisle, with Democrat Gary Gerson withdrawing, leaving incumbent Rep. Mari Manoogian (D-Birmingham) to face Republican Kendra Cleary of Bloomfield Hills, after Mike Banerian and Malissa Bossardet, both of Bloomfield Township, withdrew. Republican Dave Ferris, who had filed to run for Oakland County Executive, withdrew, leaving Mike Kowall of White Lake, most recently former state Senator, Senate Majority Leader and previously White Lake Township Supervisor, to face Jeffrey G. Nutt of Troy in the primary.P August primry will fae Democrat Davi.d Coulter who was appointed as county executive last year. In Bloomfield Township, a game of musical chairs was the order of the day. For supervisor, Republican Dave Thomas, who lost to current supervisor Leo Savoie in 2016, was disqualified for inadequate number of signatures. Savoie will now face former treasurer Dan Devine who lost his position in the 2016 election. On the Democratic ticket, Jeff Axt withdrew, leaving current trustee Dani Walsh and Jeff Nadeau to face off in August. For clerk, former treasurer Dan Devine withdrew as clerk because he is running for supervisor, while Dave Thomas, who had also filed for the supervisor position, is still in the race and will face Republicans Tom Smyly and Malissa Bossardet. In the treasurer's race, Jeff Axt withdrew so the winner of the Republican primary between incumbent Brian Kepes and Mark Antakli will face no opposition in November. At the trustee level, where the four seats are open, Linda P. Ulrey, who had filed as both a Republican and as a Democrat, withdrew as a Republican and will run as a Democrat. Jeff Axt had also filed for this post as a Republican but pulled from the race. Republican Malissa Bossardet withdrew as a candidate for trustee; she is running for township clerk. There are now four Democrats running for trustee – Stephanie Fakih, Mitsuaki Muarashige, Valerie Sayles Murray and Ulrey. Five Republicans will appear on the August primary ballot, including incumbent trustees Neal Barnett and Michael Schostak, Timothy Robert Meyer, Erid Pernie and Don Valente.

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