Voters send plenty of new people to boards, council



SWARTZ CREEK — Several newcomers soon will begin learning the ropes of public service following Tuesday’s general election.

The Swartz Creek City Council, Swartz Creek Community Schools Board of Education, and the Boards of Trustees in Clayton, Gaines and Mundy township all will have at least one new member.

Here’s a look at the results:

Swartz Creek

The Swartz Creek City Council will look just a little different as newcomer Samantha A. Fountain garnered the second-greatest number of votes going up against three incumbent councilmen in the nonpartisan race.

Mayor David A. Krueger was the top votegetter with 1,677, followed closely by Fountain with 1,662. John A. Gilbert received 1,314 votes.

With four candidates vying for three available seats, Fountain will replace Dennis W. Cramer, who trailed the pack with 1,249 votes.

District 3 Councilman Nathan Henry was unopposed in his bid to retain the seat to which he was appointed earlier this year. Henry will complete a partial term ending in 2022.

Gaines Township

Absentee ballots made a significant difference in the outcome of the Gaines Township Board of Trustees election.

Incumbent Supervisor Paul J. Fortino, a Republican, soundly defeated challengers Lee Purdy and Chuck Melki. Fortino held a commanding lead when the election-day ballots were tallied. And although Purdy, a Democrat, closed the gap when absentee ballots were counted, he still came up short.

The final count saw Fortino with 1,952 votes (including 794 absentee), Purdy with 1,383 (975 absentee), and Melki with 851 (349 absentee). Melki, a who ran without party affiliation, previously served as supervisor, having defeated Fortino in 2012, only to be unseated in a 2014 recall election. Melki again challenged Fortino in the 2016 general election, and lost.

In the race for clerk, Republican Karen D. Hawkins emerged the victor, unseating incumbent Michael Dowler, and challenger Scarlett Oden. Both Dowler and Oden ran with no party affiliation. Hawkins outpaced her competition by wide margins in both electionday and absentee voting, and finished the race with 2,087 votes (828 absentee) to Oden’s 844 (399 absentee) and Dowler’s 618 (398 absentee).

Absentee voters gave incumbent Treasurer Diane Hyrman, a Democrat, the boost she needed to defeat challenger Todd Bishop, who ran without party affiliation. Hyrman trailed Bishop in election-day voting, but ended the race with 1,787 total votes (including 1,213 absentee) to Bishop’s 1,454 (521 absentee).

A similar scenario played out among trustee candidates. With incumbent Matt Moros not seeking re-election, and incumbent Purdy vying for the supervisor’s office, two positions were up for grabs.

Top vote-getters were Republican Leslie W. Casto, who collected 2,108 votes, and Democrat Rodney Fowler, who garnered 1,639, including 1,143 absentee votes that put him ahead of Jill Rohner, who was leading Fowler in election-day voting. Rohner and candidate Michael VanDusen, both of whom ran without party affiliation, received 1,000 and 799 votes, respectively.

Mundy Township

Five candidates battled it out in a tight race for four available trustee posts on the Mundy Township Board of Trustees.

Top vote-getters were Republican Kyle V. Ward with 4,889 votes, incumbent Democrat Mark T. Gorton with 4,682 votes, and Democrats Kimberly Jimenez and Debra Ridley who earned 4,556 and 4,532 votes, respectively, narrowly defeating Democrat Greg Dietrich, who received 4,526 votes.

Tonya Ketzler, a Democrat who currently serves as clerk, was unopposed in the race for the supervisor’s post. Cory Jo Bostwick, a Democrat who currently serves as treasurer, was unopposed in the race for clerk. And Democrat Dennis B. Owens, currently a trustee, was unopposed in the race for treasurer.

Clayton Township

In Clayton Township, a tight contest with five candidates battling for four available trustee positions on the Clayton Township Board of Trustees resulted in one incumbent being ousted.

Republicans Shelley M. Thompson, incumbent, and Brad Anthony, were the top two vote-getters with 2,500 and 2,384 votes, respectively. They join Democrats Tammy Kapraun and Greg Childers in the winners’ circle. Kapraun received 2,305 votes; Childers, 2,375. Incumbent Democrat Mike Crockett came up short with 2,276 votes.

Supervisor Tom Spillane, a Republican, Clerk Dennis Milem and Treasurer Rick Caruso, both Democrats, had no opposition in their bids for re-election.

Swartz Creek school board

Swartz Creek Board of Education President Carrie Germain, Treasurer Michael Ahearne, and Secretary Jessica Lanave will return to the school board, joined by newcomer John M. Sayer.

The non-partisan election resulted in Germain earning 5,638 votes; Ahearne, 4,398; Lanave, 4,244; and Sayer, 3,812.

They won out over challengers Michael Ovsenik, with 3,781 votes; Jason Bennett, 3,384; Leah Davis, 3,267; Carla Cordonnier- Smith, 2,265; and Justus Brown, 1,909.

Incumbent Tony Paul did not seek re-election.

All numbers reflect vote totals reported on the Genesee County Clerk website as of press time.