CADILLAC — Several contenders for the GOP nomination in local Michigan House and Senate races were chosen Tuesday, although complete results weren’t available until Wednesday morning.
The tightest race in the area was in the House of Representatives 101st District, which includes most of Wexford County, Lake County west of Luther, all of Newaygo County, and slivers of Mason and Oceana counties.
Candidates Kelly Smith and Joseph Fox were neck and neck throughout Tuesday night, but Fox ended up pulling out a victory by a slim margin of 171 votes.
The final district-wide tally was Fox with 5,011 votes and Smith with 4,840. The other two contenders in the race were Chad Pierce and Diane Schindlbeck, who received 1,119 and 4,082 votes, respectively.
In Wexford County, Smith and Schindlbeck took the majority of votes — 1,465 and 1,201 — compared to 1,045 for Fox and 436 for Pierce. Smith and Schindlbeck also took the majority of votes in Lake County, 419 and 367, compared to 299 for Fox and 120 for Pierce.
The county where Fox far outpaced the rest of the contenders was Newaygo, where he received 3,404 votes, compared to 2,739 for Smith, 2,365 for Schindlbeck and 499 for Pierce.
Assuming the results from all counties in the district are certified, Fox will face Democratic contender Amanda Siggins in the November general election. Siggins faced no opponent in the primary.
Another close House of Representatives race in the area was for the Republican nomination in the 104th District.
A sliver of Wexford County north of Manton and Mesick is in the 104th District, which also includes parts of Grand Traverse, Manistee, Benzie, Kalkaska and Antrim counties.
District-wide results had incumbent candidate John Roth defeating opponent Katie Kniss by 634 votes. Roth received a total of 8,281 votes and Kniss received 7,647.
In Wexford County, Roth defeated Kniss by a tally of 353 to 309.
Assuming the results from all counties in the district are certified, Roth will face Democratic contender Cathy Albro in the November general election. Albro faced no opponent in the primary.
The margin of victory in the House of Representatives 105th District was far greater than in the 101st and 104th.
Missaukee County is in the 105th District, which includes Roscommon, Crawford, part of Kalkaska, the southern half of Oscoda, most of Otsego and part of Antrim counties.
Districtwide results showed candidate Ken Borton with 55.5% of the votes, taking 9,841, compared to 1,199 for Mark McFarlin, 3,387 for Kim Morley and 3,303 for Diane Randall.
Missaukee County residents overwhelming chose Borton, who received 1,785 votes in that county, compared to 229 for McFarlin, 315 for Morley and 628 for Randall.
Assuming the results from all counties in the district are certified, Borton will face Democratic contender Adam Wojdan in the November general election. Wojdan faced no opponent in the primary.
The one local Michigan senate race decided Tuesday was for the Republican nomination in the 34th District.
Osceola County is in the 34th District, which includes part of Lake County, all of Clare, Gladwin, Isabella, and Gratiot counties, and parts of Bay, Saginaw, Clinton and Mecosta counties.
District-wide results showed that candidate Roger Hauck took 76.89% of the votes — 27,721 compared to 8,334 cast for his opponent, Lisa Sowers.
Hauck also prevailed over Sowers in local counties, receiving 2,974 votes in Osceola County to Sower’s 1,110, and 450 in Lake County to Sower’s 202.
Assuming the results from all counties in the district are certified, Hauck will face Democratic contender Christine Gerace in the November general election. Gerace faced no opponent in the primary.
Compared to the last midterm primary, the percentage of registered voters and overall number of voters who turned out Tuesday to exercise their right to franchise differed from county to county in Northern Michigan.
Results from Wexford County show a decline from the last midterm: total voter turnout on Tuesday was 25.5%, or 7,172 out of 28,127 registered voters. During the last midterm primary in 2018, turnout was recorded at 31.75%, or 8,032 out of 25,295 registered voters.
In Osceola County, there was a significant uptick in voter turnout and voter overall numbers from the last midterm primary. On Tuesday, voter turnout was 31%, or 5,014 out of 18,838 registered voters. During the last midterm primary, turnout was recorded at 25.8%, or 4,375 out of 16,955 registered voters.
Turnout in Lake County on Tuesday was 26.36%, or 2,752 out of 10,442 registered voters. The Cadillac News reached out to the Lake County Clerk’s Office to get voter turnout numbers for the 2018 primary for comparison but did not hear back by press time.
Results from Missaukee County show lower turnout but a higher number of voters overall: total voter turnout Tuesday was 31.39%, or 3,915 out of 12,474 registered voters. During the last midterm primary, turnout was recorded at 34.72%, or 3,776 out of 10,875 registered voters.
With the county seeing an increase in registered voters, county clerk Jessica Nielsen said the turnout has slowly trended upward in recent years.
“With every different type of election, I would say we’ve slowly trended up a little bit higher with voter turnout overall, but nothing drastic,” she said.
With voter information more accessible to people online, Nielsen said she believes there’s plenty of awareness about people’s right to vote. Ultimately, she said it’s up to them whether to come out and do so.
“It always comes down to that every voter has their own right to exercise or not exercise their right to vote,” she said.
Election results in Missaukee County were certified by the board of canvassers Wednesday. In Wexford and Osceola, results won’t be verified until Thursday or Friday. The Cadillac News reached out to the Lake County Clerk’s Office for information about the certification of their results but did not hear back by press time.
Cadillac News reporter Ricardo Martin contributed to this story.