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Dixon to Face Whitmer, Hill and Wagner to Meet in 109th – Local Election Wrap-Up

See full results for Houghton, Keweenaw, Baraga and Ontonagon Counties in our Election Summary.

Democrat Gretchen Whitmer and Republican Tudor Dixon will face off in the Michigan governor’s race in November.

Dixon pulled ahead early last evening. The Republican Party declared her their nominee even before news organizations released their projections. With late results still being counted downstate, she’s held steady through the night with around 40 percent of the vote. Kevin Rinke is a distant second, with 21 percent, Garrett Soldano third with 18 percent, Ryan Kelley fourth with 15 percent, and Ralph Rebandt a distant fifth, with just four percent.

Dixon carried the endorsement of traditional Republican organizations such as the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and Right to Life, along with support from the wealthy DeVos family. She received a late boost from former President Donald Trump. Observers noted that she did not mention Trump in her victory speech.

Garrett Soldano conceded early, and promised to vote for Dixon, and support her candidacy. Kevin Rinke stopped short of endorsing Dixon with his concession later in the evening. Ryan Kelley refused to concede, and demanded that the “predetermined winner” call for a publically supervised hand recount. He referred to an incident two weeks ago, in which two southwest Michigan television stations accidentally posted vote totals on their websites, while testing the vote reporting feed provided by the Associated Press. The AP said the numbers had been randomly generated.

The gloves have already come off in what promises to become an ugly battle. In statements last night, Dixon ridiculed Whitmer as the “queen of lockdown,” and Whitmer said Dixon “has made clear that she will drag Michigan backwards.”


State Senator Ed McBroom easily held off challenges from two ultraconservatives to win the Republican nomination in the 38th District. McBroom rolled up more than three-quarters of the vote, easily dispatching Matthew Furyck and Kayla Wikstrom. McBroom will face Democrat John Braamse in the November election.

In the 109th State House district, Marquette City Commissioner Jenn Hill finished more than 10 points ahead of Forsythe Township Supervisor Joe Boogren for the Democratic nomination. On the Republican side, perennial candidate Melody Wagner earned a seven-point victory over Ron Gray. Hill and Wagner will fight for the right to replace Democrat Sara Cambensy, who is term-limited. The 109th was recently redrawn to include Baraga County. In what may be a hint as to the partisan breakdown of the new district, Democratic voters outnumbered Republican voters yesterday, 10,584 to 8,156.

Locally, Schoolcraft Township Supervisor Joel Keranen won the four-way race for the Republican nomination for District Two Houghton County Commissioner. Keranen drew 571 votes, well ahead of runner-up Lou Ambuehl, who had 341. 

In Stanton Township, Marty Rajala won the Republican nomination to fill out a partial term as supervisor. A proposal that would have established a planning commission to draw up land use and zoning guidelines failed, 316 to 259.

All of the various millage requests in Houghton County townships passed.

In Baraga County, incumbent District Two County Commissioner Brad Dakota easily held off a challenge from former commissioner Mike Koskinen for the Republican nomination. In the District Three Republican primary, Craig Kent earned the nod, polling six votes more than Linda Rajala. Kent Thomas was a distant third.

Baraga Township’s millage requests for fire and ambulance services both passed easily.

In Keweenaw County, Gary Bracco easily defeated Kenneth Rowe for the Republican nomination for County Road Commission. All of the millage issues on the ballot in Keweenaw County passed.

In Ontonagon County, both of the requests designed to help payoff millions of dollars in outstanding pension obligations to former Ontonagon County Memorial Hospital workers failed by margins of more than two-to-one. One would have boosted millages across the county by two mills. The other would have increased millages within the village by 20 mills. Both increases would have run through 2028. All other millage requests in Ontonagon County passed.

You can see full results for all four counties in our election summary at KeweenawReport.com.

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