Greenwood, Mooradian & Harvath Win Douglas City Council Seats
The much anticipated—and sometimes controversial—Douglas City Council race in Wednesday’s General Election appears to show that Douglas voters like some of what is going on at city hall, but also wanted a change.
The unofficial election results - which still need to be certified - found newcomer Kathryn Mooradian securing a seat (239 votes); Lisa Greenwood returning after a hiatus (244 votes); and one of two incumbents, Greg Harvath, getting re-elected (161 votes).
The Douglas City Council featured six candidates vying for three open seats with two-year terms. Those who did not win a seat include incumbent and long-serving (10 years) council member Martha Hoexter (136 votes); Jim Petzing (141 votes), who was 21 votes shy of securing a seat; and John J. Kelly (124 votes).
Jonathan Kinyon (36 votes) appeared on the ballot, but he officially withdrew from the race after having registered.
Forty percent of Douglas’ registered voters (1,097) came out to cast their ballots.
There was some contention during the race.
Using their council seat position, some Douglas City Council members, including fellow candidates, took direct and indirect jabs against candidate Petzing during the campaign period, taking umbrage against some of his opinions espoused in his Local Observer newspaper column “Business First,” which stopped running after he entered the political race.
Petzing was not present during the public criticism during some council meetings. In his column, Petzing welcomed discussion about what he called the ongoing economic drabness facing the City of Douglas and the need to attract more visitors on a more consistent basis.
While some businesses saw great results this past summer, city officials say they will continue to try to make their city more economically viable, as indicated by this past Monday’s Douglas City Council’s vote of support for the Michigan Main Street Program.
The race across the bridge for Saugatuck City Council was less interesting because it was uncontested.
Incumbents Bill Hess (157 votes), Jeff Spangler (166) and Chris Peterson (159) were all re-elected to a two-year seat.
The vote tally and results from both cities must still be certified by Allegan County officials.
Douglas and Saugatuck’s ballots did not include other local government issues.
In the state race, the sex-scandal-spurred expulsion in September of former Michigan State Rep. Cindy Gamrat, representing Saugatuck and Douglas in the 80th District, prompted a special primary rather than a general election to fill that vacancy.
Arguing voters should be the ones to oust her, Gamrat filed to run in the election.
Gamrat and fellow Republican Todd Courser left the Michigan House of Representatives in September after an extramarital affair, a bizarre cover-up email, and eventual admissions of misconduct and misuse of state resources.
She lost convincingly Tuesday night to Mary Whiteford of Casco Township.
“My priority, honestly, is to get us past this,” Whiteford said. “There are too many wonderful, hard-working people in this county. And it’s a beautiful place to be and live and kayak and hike, and it’s just a wonderful place, and that’s the people who need to be represented. And I will be that person to represent them.”
Whiteford, who lost a 2014 primary race to Gamrat, will now face off against Democrat David Gernant in the general election in March. She will be favored to win, say state pols.