By Ralph Echtinaw
The local stage is now set for the Nov. 3 general election after last week’ primary eliminated contenders for several positions in Gratiot County.
Six Lakes resident Pat Outman, 28, and son of State Sen. Rick Outman paced the field in the 70th State House district Republican primary with 288 votes in St. Louis and 7,386 overall.
Outman’s closest competitor was Martin Ross with 49 votes in St. Louis and 2,836 overall.
Rounding out the field were Arturo Puckerin 34/1,227, Greg Alexander 30/948 and Christopher Comden 33/620.
Outman will face Democrat Karen Garvey in the Nov. 3 general election. In the Democrat primary, Garvey got 202 votes in St. Louis and 4,098 overall while running unopposed.
The hotly contested county treasurer Republican primary produced a win for Terri Ball (whose campaign manager was St. Louis City Councilman Bill Leonard) with 201 votes in St. Louis and 2,335 overall.
Ball defeated Kelly King (124/1,950) and incumbent Michelle Thomas (96/1,812). The Democrats had no candidate for treasurer, so Ball has essentially already been elected.
Incumbent Sheriff Mike Morris won in a landslide over challenger Wayne Buck Andrews in the Republican primary. Morris had 341 votes in St. Louis and 4,572 overall compared to 107/1,828 for Andrews. The Democrats put up no candidate for sheriff.
Incumbent Republican Drain Commissioner Bernie Barnes was re-nominated with 3,391 votes to Brian Denman’s 2,922 overall. But Denman beat Barnes in St. Louis by a vote of 252 to 174. There is no Democrat candidate for drain commissioner either.
Republican County Commissioner Jan Bunting fended off challenger Earl Hunt by the narrow margin of 604 to 597 overall and 225 to 217 in St. Louis. The Democrats have not put up a candidate to challenge Bunting, so she is essentially re-elected.
Though incumbent Republican Congressman John Moolenaar, 59, of Midland, is the favorite to retain his seat in November, his challenger will be Democrat Anthony Feig, 51, of Mt. Pleasant, who defeated Jerry Hillard 104 to 93 in St. Louis and 26,577 to 22,568 overall in the Democrat primary.
Moolenaar received 97,373 votes while running unopposed in the Republican primary.
The Gratiot County parks, trails and recreation program millage was approved 407 to 173 in St. Louis and 5,248 to 2,932 overall.
About 655 of St. Louis’ 2,583 registered voters cast ballots in the primary.