Sizing up races in Dickinson, Iron counties
Only two races for Dickinson County offices are contested in the Nov. 3 election, and both are repeats from 2018, while one Iron County commissioner’s race has three candidates.
The majority of candidates for township and city offices are unopposed, but a handful do have opposition.
Dickinson County District 2 in Iron Mountain will see incumbent Democrat Kevin Pirlot challenged by Republican Ann Martin, a 14-year commissioner he unseated two years ago. In District 3, which includes parts of Iron Mountain and Breitung Township, incumbent Republican Barbara Kramer again will face Democrat Dale Alessandrini, the current Iron Mountain mayor.
Pirlot prevailed over Martin 1,006 to 944 in 2018, while Kramer held off Alessandrini, 1,218 to 1,046. Kramer, now in her eighth year on the board, also defeated Alessandrini in 2016.
Incumbent Dickinson County commissioners facing no opposition are Board Chairman Henry Wender of Breitung Township, a Republican; Joseph Stevens of Kingsford, also a Republican; and John Degenaer Jr. of Norway, a Democrat.
In Iron County, there is a three-way race for the county commissioner’s seat in District 3, where Raymond Coates, the Iron River incumbent, is challenged by Keith Hamel of Iron River and Mark Stauber of Caspian. All of the candidates have filed without party affiliation. The district includes the southern half of Iron River and the city of Caspian.
Iron County commissioners unopposed for re-election are Patti Peretto of Iron River Township, a Democrat, District 1; and Mike Stafford of Iron River, no party affiliation, District 2.
In District 4, where Sharon Leonoff did not seek re-election, Jeff Ofsdahl of Crystal Falls is unopposed on the ballot. He filed without party affiliation.
In District 5, which includes Hematite, Crystal Falls and Mansfield townships, Jacob Conery is unopposed. He also filed without party affiliation. Incumbent Tim Aho did not seek re-election.
Two judicial incumbents are unopposed in Dickinson and Iron counties — 95B District Court Judge Julie LaCost and 41st Circuit Court Judge Christopher Ninomiya.
Dickinson County officials unopposed for re-election are Prosecuting Attorney Lisa Richards, Sheriff Scott Rutter, Clerk-Register of Deeds Dolly Cook, Treasurer Lorna Carey, Mine Inspector Steven Smith and Drain Commissioner Kevin Trevillian. Rutter and Cook are Democrats, while the other four officials are Republicans.
Iron County incumbents who have no opposition are Prosecuting Attorney Melissa Powell, Sheriff Mark Valesano, Clerk-Register of Deeds Julie Kezerle, Treasurer Melanie Camps, Mine Inspector Thomas Karvala, and Road Commissioner Ernest Schmidt. All are running as Democrats, except Kezerle, who filed as a Republican.
How the local races in Dickinson County break down:
— Breen Township: Rob Massie, currently a trustee, is the only candidate for township supervisor, running as a Republican. Other Republicans unopposed are Gus Murray, clerk; Katie Dixon, treasurer; and Brian Farwell, constable. There is a three-way race for two trustee seats. The candidates are Kevin E. Cary, an incumbent Democrat, and Republicans Mick Reynolds and Travis Woodward.
— Breitung Township: The candidates, all Republicans, face no opposition. They are Supervisor Denny Olson, Clerk Samantha Neuens, Treasurer Carol Taylor, trustees Aaron Rochon and Rich Wales, all incumbents, and trustee candidates Paul J. Taff and Ben Peterson.
— Felch Township: Candidates for township offices, all incumbents, are unopposed. They are Supervisor Robert A. Mattson, Clerk Darrell J. Oman and trustees Darwin Dixon and Greg Wille, all Republicans; and Treasurer Marilyn Steinbrecher, a Democrat.
— Norway Township: There are three candidates for two trustee seats on the township board. They are incumbent Republicans David B. Solda and Mike Steeno and Democratic challenger Brian K. Pellegrini. Incumbents unopposed are Don Byczek, supervisor, a Democrat; and Republicans Joyce Giuliani, clerk, and Kristen M. LaValley, treasurer.
— Sagola Township: The candidates, all incumbent Republicans, are unopposed. They are Supervisor Don Minerick, Clerk Julie A. Roell, Treasurer Rita Rotter and Trustee Michael Kroll. There are no candidates on the ballot for a second trustee seat.
— Waucedah Township: There is a three-way race for two trustee seats as Chuck Adams, the current supervisor, is a Republican challenger to Democratic incumbents Rick J. Smaniotti and Theodore Testolin. Republican candidates unopposed are Louis A. Sturm, supervisor; Lori Turri, clerk; and Amy Hebzysnki, treasurer.
— West Branch Township: The candidates, all incumbents, are unopposed. They are Republicans Lisa M. Jacobson, supervisor; Earl D. Phyiliaere, clerk; and Cheryl Peacock, trustee; and Democrats Kim M. Oman, treasurer; Clarissa Dixon, trustee; and Wesley J. Oman, constable.
— Breitung Township Schools: There are three seats open on the board of education, but just two candidates. Incumbents Jeffrey Gussert and Mark Pugh are seeking four-year terms. There are no candidates for a partial term ending Dec. 31, 2022.
— North Dickinson County Schools: There are three candidates for three four-year seats on the school board. They are Kris Steinbrecher and incumbents Leonard Alex Graham and Jacquelen Schemmel. There is one candidate, incumbent Sara Greniere, for a partial term ending Dec. 31, 2024.
— Norway-Vulcan Schools: There are four candidates for four seats on the school board. They are Joseph F. Rake and incumbents Jenny DeDecker, Richard Cory Heigl and William O’Brion. The terms are four years.
— Iron Mountain Schools: With a pair of six-year terms on the ballot, Scott Celello, an incumbent, is the lone candidate.
Here’s what’s on the ballot for local races in Iron County:
— City of Caspian: There are four candidates for three at-large commissioner seats on the city council. Candidates are Matthew Jacks, Robert Ketchum, Robert Wayne Remondini and Gary Sabol.
— City of Crystal Falls: Three candidates — Blair Anderson, Nathaniel Kudwa and Chris Nocerini — are competing for two seats on the city council. Mike McCarthy is unopposed for mayor.
— City of Gaastra: Candidates for city offices are unopposed. They are Thomas Place, mayor, and Mari Kay McNamara and Ashley Ingram Schober for two commissioner seats.
— Bates Township: All township candidates are Republicans and are unopposed. They are John S. Oberlin, supervisor; Barbara Benson-Stafford, clerk; Teresa Nelson, treasurer; and Jane Adams and Michael J. Franzene, trustees.
— Crystal Falls Township: All candidates for township offices are unopposed. They are Scott R. Kenney, no party affiliation, supervisor; and Democrats Nancy Niemi, clerk; Jennifer Ketola, treasurer; and Diane Kut and Joanne Seppela, trustees.
— Hematite Township: With six library board directors to be elected, there are six candidates: Cara Beck, Judith Cornelia, Beverly Dallafior, Helen Hord, Erma Lepisto and Tanya Stebbins. Candidates unopposed for township officers are Joe Hoenig, supervisor, no party affiliation; Sally Casiano clerk, Democrat; Ashley Haag, treasurer, Republican; and Jim Cihak and Carlyn Raduechel, trustees, both Republicans. There are no candidates on the ballot for an open constable seat.
— Iron River Township: Candidates for township offices, all Republicans, are unopposed. They are Scott Tarsi, supervisor; Amber Laturi, clerk; Dawn Pisoni, treasurer; and Douglas Bruster and Mike Sheehy, trustees.
— Mansfield Township: Candidates for township officers are unopposed. They are Richard Dryjanski, supervisor, Democrat; Arthur Bloomburg, clerk, Republican; Deborah J. Strelecki, treasurer, Republican; and George Minerick and Joseph L. Olson for two trustee seats, both Democrats.
— Mastodon Township: The only contested race is for township treasurer. Incumbent Sheri L. Skrzyniarz, a Democrat, is challenged by Stacey Watters, a Republican. Unopposed on the ballot are Frank Siewiorek, supervisor, Republican; Jan Lemke, clerk, Republican; and Charles Skinner, trustee, Democrat; and Mike Bjork, trustee, no party affiliation.
— Stambaugh Township: The only contested race is for clerk. Theresa Baumgartner, the incumbent Democrat, is challenged by Margaret Christensen, a Republican. Unopposed are Kevin S. Isaacson, supervisor, Republican; Sharon Rogers, treasurer, Republican; Sherry M. Pangrazzi and Dean Stolberg for two trustee seats, both Democrats; and Shelly Losey, constable, Democrat.
— Village of Alpha: Sharon Eaton is unopposed for clerk and Gene Byrge is unopposed for treasurer. There are no candidates on the ballot for village president or village trustee.
— West Iron County Public Schools: There are four candidates on the ballot for four seats. Candidates are Ian Gill, Ryan Meski, Gary Pisoni and Dennis Tousignant. The terms are for four years.
— Forest Park School District: There are two candidates — Mike Bjork and William Leonoff — for a pair of six-year terms on the school board.