COLDWATER (WTVB) - Primary election day saw just under 25% of the registered voters in Branch County go to the polls yesterday with results that included a sound defeat for theBranchIntermediateSchool District’s special education millage proposal. It lost 4,121 to 2,577. BISD Superintendent Joe Lopez said the election served as an opportunity to address their special education programming and at the same time, support the local K-12 districts. Lopez said there’s definitely disappointment associated with the loss, although as always, he pledges to make the best of an economic challenging situation. Also, the Republican primary for the office of Sheriff saw John Pollack with a comfortable margin of victory over Mike Gatke with Harold Sneath finishing a distant third. It was 3813 for Pollack, 2760 for Gatke, and 398 for Sneath. Pollack will be challenged in November by Democrat Johnny Lopez. In his victory statement, Pollack told us that he and his wife wanted to thank all of their supporters throughout Branch County and also gave a special thanks to retiring Sheriff Warren Cannon for his support. Pollack said Gatke called him last night and told us his fellow Sergeant at the Sheriff’s Department pledged his backing and the support of his campaign crew in the general election. As for Gatke’s reaction to his defeat, he told us it was still a great honor and called the election a good journey which taught him a lot and he got to touch base with a lot of people which made it all worthwhile. He called his effort a good showing with a great opportunity to share his vision. He says it’s now time to get back to work and show unity for the November election. In other GOP outcomes, Ralph Kimble enjoyed an easy win in his race for Prosecutor against Benjamin Jewell 4506 to 1815 while for County Treasurer, Ann Vrablic defeated Jennifer Whitney 3367 to 2810. Both Kimble and Vrablic face no democratic opposition in the November general election. In the 3-way runoff for Probate Judge, Chuck Lilllis took first place with 3296 votes while Kirk Kashian secondl with 2656 votes. They’ll face off to determine the successor to the retiring Judge Fred Wood.Current County Prosecutor Terri Norris lost out in the Probate primary with her third place showing yesterday with 1,212 votes. And in the County Commission races for the newly created districts with the Commission reduced from 8 to 5 seats, the winners in the battle of incumbents were Rod Olney over Jerry Hubbard 623 to 547 for District One and Randall Hazelbaker over Linda Fronczak in District Five 944 to 441. The fire protection and equiptment levies on the ballot in Bethel and Noble Townships and the City of Bronson were all approved yesterday. And there were contested Republican primaries in five of the county’s 16 townships. In Gilead Township, Debbie Burzynski was the winner for the supervisor’s post. InGirardTownship, Gene Easterday was the supervisor’s winner, Suellen AcMoody was the pick in the Clerk’s race while for Trustee, the winners for the two seats among five candidates were Phil AcMoody and Brandon Dirschell. In KinderhookTownship, the Supervisor’s race went to Wayne Barnes while the trustee winners were Jody Lewis and Gary Stetler. In Ovid Township, Nancy Price was the choice for Treasurer and in UnionTownship, Ralph Strong defeated Tom Lewande for Supervisor while the winner of the clerk’s post was Sharon Boley.
In the seventh Congressional district, incumbent republican Tim Walberg defeated Dan Davis in the GOP primary by a 3-to-1 margin and is heavily favored to defeat democrat Kurt Haskell in November. And in the race to see which Republican candidate will square off with incumbent Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow this fall, former Congressman Pete Hoekstra has won handily over candidates Clark Durant and Randy Hekman. Hekman says they will now close ranks and support Hoeskstra.