Grand Haven mayor loses re-election bid

Ottawa County

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — The city of Grand Haven will be electing a new mayor after the incumbent lost her re-election bid Tuesday. 

Mayor Geri McCaleb served four terms in the city and will be replaced in November by one of two council members. 

Candidate Josh Brugger won about 40% of the votes while his competitor Robert Monetza took 30% of the votes. McCaleb came in third place with 29% of the vote, losing by 28 votes.

An undated photo of Geri McCaleb.
An undated photo of Geri McCaleb.

“I love this city and I just wanted to be involved in the decisions it was making,” McCaleb said when talking about her eight years in office. 

Prior to her years as mayor, McCaleb served as a city council member. She says this election was different.

“There was a lot of younger people voting. I think that makes a difference,” she added. 

>>Inside Election results

Council members Josh Brugger and Robert Monetza say they believe the city is just ready for something different.

“I see small changes coming. I don’t come in with an agenda or to turn the town upside down,” Monetza said. 

One issue all three seemed to hold different ideas about is marijuana in the city.

A photo of Josh Brugger. (Aug. 6, 2019)
A photo of Josh Brugger. (Aug. 6, 2019)

“I am a strong proponent of medical marijuana and I believe that the citizens of Grand Haven are ready to take that step. I’m not confident yet that the citizens are ready for recreational use,” Brugger said.

His opponent did not clarify for 24 Hour News 8 if he is for both recreational and medicinal marijuana but says he wants what the voters want. 

An undated photo of Robert Monetza.
An undated photo of Robert Monetza.

“It’s our job to find the safest most prudent way to implement the will of the voters. The voters said yes to medical marijuana years ago,” Monetza said.

McCaleb says she didn’t agree with marijuana being sold in the city in any capacity in Grand Haven. She says she’s not sure if that opinion in any way affected election results. 

“I think the marijuana thing brought a lot of people out that maybe weren’t taking a real interest in local politics before,” McCaleb said. 

Other issues that the two candidates plan to address include a $48 million debt, the future of a power plant and what’s next for the depot.

The current mayor says she wishes both candidates luck and hopes to see the city continue in its growth.

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