This article looks at a variety of races and quotes some of the candidates, all incumbents. Is it journalistic bias to only run comments from incumbents? Again, no platform information is provided nor voting records of people who are incumbents. The issue of how the county currently gets funding for purchasing agricultural land is mentioned, but no context is provided for why this might be an issue in the election for Kent County Commissioners.
KENT COUNTY — There’s a shake-up in the works for the Kent County Commission with two longtime incumbents bowing out to run for drain commissioner, and four others facing challenges from members of their own party.
Republicans Jack Horton, of Vergennes Township, and Tom Postmus, of Grand Rapids, are giving up their seats to face off in a seven-way race for drain commissioner on Aug. 8.
The move leaves in the air two votes favoring spending taxpayer dollars on the county’s Purchase of Development Rights program.
County funding for the program, which has relied on private donations to purchase agricultural land, likely will be a campaign issue drawing three other candidates to the pack.
“This is not an easy thing for either Tom or I,” said Horton, who has served eight years on the commission. “We both wish each other had run for commissioner, but we have to respect each other’s decision.”
Former board chairman David Morren, R-Gaines Township and Fritz Wahlfield, R-Comstock Park will face challenges from farmer Bill Hirsch and business owner Gary Potter. Dean Agee, R-Grand Rapids Township is unopposed after former Grand Rapids Township Trustee Susan Lovell withdrew from the August primary.
All three challengers said funding for the PDR program played a role in their decisions to take on entrenched incumbents.
Democrats also are likely to see some action with incumbent Paul Mayhue, of Grand Rapids, facing what he concedes is a stiff challenge from radio host Robert Womack, also known as Robert S, and Jim Talen.
“Nobody knows what the cards are going to be but God and the people,” Mayhue said.
Democrat Carol Hennessy will be back to challenge Republicans Eric Schmidt and Holly Marie Zuidema for Postmus’ seat after vowing two years ago she wouldn’t run again.
A second round
Voters in the county’s 18th District will see a repeat of a close 2004 race between commissioner Dan Koorndyke, R-Grand Rapids, and Brandon Dillon, a Democrat who lost by 106 votes.
Also, voters will choose two candidates from a field of four to run in the Nov. 7 general election for a new Kent County Circuit Court judgeship. Assistant County Prosecutor Helen Brinkman and private practice attorneys Christian Krupp, Dave Murkowski and Mark Trusock are seeking that post.