GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Voters in a number of West Michigan communities decided on millage and bond proposals and some chose candidates in races for local offices during Tuesday’s primary.
Drawing attention to a slow and small election day was a special election to fill the vacant seat to represent the 28th Senate District, which covers northern and western Kent County. Former state Sen. Peter MacGregor of Rockford, who served the district for six years, left that office when he was elected the Kent County treasurer.
Rep. Mark Huizenga of Walker is projected to win the Republican Party nomination.
Two other Republicans also hoped to gain their party’s nomination: Rep. Tommy Brann of Wyoming and former state Rep. Kevin Green of Wyoming.
Former Kent County Commissioner Keith Courtade is projected to win the Democratic nomination. In addition to serving as a commissioner, Courtade worked in the auto industry.
Another Democrat was also on the ballot: Gidget Groendyk. Groendyk has owned local businesses.
The two winners will advance to square off in the general election Nov. 2. The winner then will take office as soon as the general election is certified, probably by mid-November.
The winner will not get much time to relax because the 28th and every Senate seat in the state will be up for a vote in 2022.
Additionally, the 28th district will not exist as it does now for the next election. New district boundary lines based on the 2020 census will change most, if not all, Senate districts to some extent. The layout of those new districts has not yet been released because the release of census data was delayed.
Another thing to note is that no matter the eventual outcome, the special election in Kent County and another on the east side of the state will not have an impact on the balance of power in the Senate. Currently, there are 20 Republican and 16 Democrats in the upper chamber. If Democrats could flip both seats, which were most recently held by Republicans, that would still only give them 18 candidates while Republicans would have 20. If Republicans hold both, their numbers go up to 22 and a split would give Republicans 21 and Democrats 17.
MILLAGES AND BONDS
There are a number of local millage renewal and bond proposals on ballots around West Michigan:
In Barry County, a $21.9 million bond for Hastings Public Schools is projected to fail. It would have added an air purification system, improved student technology and security measures and bought new buses.
In Kalamazoo County, a $175.7 million bond request for Portage Public Schools is projected to pass to replace five elementary schools and renovate another over the course of the next 10 years. The school district says construction of the first building should start during the 2022-2023 school year. Funds will also improve student technology and buy fuel-efficient buses.
“Once again, when we asked voters to help improve the learning environment for our children, they answered with their support. It’s exciting to think of the day when our elementary students and teachers will have facilities built for them and their unique educational needs. On behalf of all Portage students who will benefit, we offer our heartfelt thanks to the voters.”Portage Public Schools Superintendent Mark Bielang
In Kent County, a $30 million operating millage for Grand Rapids Public Schools is projected to pass to pay for things like textbooks, technology, classrooms and school improvements. The goal of the millage is to maintain an existing levy and protect against a Headlee Rollback. It will not increase taxes. | Report
A $54 million bond is projected to fail for Paw Paw Public Schools to build an early childhood center and multipurpose stadium at the high school. The school says the bond failed by about 45 votes, a 49%-51% margin.
“I think the Paw Paw School District really missed out on a great opportunity to invest in some needed facility improvements to improve the educational environments for our students in a way that would not only make them safer but also more supportive of our goal of achieving high levels of learning for all students. With the tremendous outpouring of school support we’ve seen from so many in our community, it comes as a disappointment that the bond proposal was defeated. We did our best to educate voters, and they made their decision. Now we have to accept it, learn from it and move on.”Paw Paw Public Schools Superintendent Rick Reo
SOUTH HAVEN MAYOR
In Van Buren County, South Haven incumbent Mayor Scott Smith is projected to win and serve his third two-year term. Two others ran for the position: Ahmmad Goodwin and Tim Stegeman.
—All results in West Michigan can be found on the election results page.