Dixon meets Whitmer, Hill and Wagner meet in 109th – wrap-up of local elections

For full results for Houghton, Keweenaw, Baraga and Ontonagon counties, see our Election Summary.

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

Dixon pulled up early last night. The Republican Party declared her its nominee even before the news outlets published their forecasts. With late results still counted in the state, she held out all night with around 40 percent of the vote. Kevin Rinke is a distant second at 21 percent, Garrett Soldano third at 18 percent, Ryan Kelley fourth at 15 percent, and Ralph Rebandt a distant fifth at just four percent.

Dixon was supported by 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 ex-President Donald Trump. Observers noted that she made no mention of Trump in her victory speech.

Garrett Soldano conceded early and vowed to vote for Dixon and support her candidacy. Kevin Rinke came close to backing Dixon with his concession later in the evening. Ryan Kelley refused to back down, demanding that the “predetermined winner” called for a publicly monitored hand recount. He referred to an incident two weeks ago in which two southwest Michigan television networks accidentally posted vote counts on their websites while testing the poll feed provided by the Associated Press. The AP said the numbers were randomly generated.

The gloves are already off, which promises to be an ugly fight. In statements last night, Dixon mocked Whitmer as the “queen of the lockdown,” and Whitmer said Dixon “made it clear she’s going to pull Michigan backwards.”


State Senator Ed McBroom easily fended off challenges from two ultraconservatives to win the Republican nomination in the 38th District. McBroom garnered more than three-quarters of the votes, dispatching Matthew Furyck and Kayla Wikstrom with ease. McBroom faces Democrat John Braamse in November’s 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, longtime candidate Melody Wagner won a seven-point victory over Ron Gray. Hill and Wagner are fighting for the right to replace term Democrat Sara Cambensy. The 109th was recently redrawn to include Baraga County. What could perhaps be indicative of the new district’s partisan collapse was that Democratic voters outnumbered Republican voters yesterday, 10,584 to 8,156.

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

In Stanton Township, Marty Rajala won the Republican nomination for a part-time supervisor. A proposal that would have used a planning commission to draft land-use and zoning guidelines failed, 316-259.

All the various millage requests in Houghton County townships were 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 3 Republican primary, Craig Kent won, winning six votes ahead of Linda Rajala. Kent Thomas was a distant third.

Baraga Township’s Millage requests for fire and ambulance services were both passed with ease.

In Keweenaw County, Gary Bracco easily defeated Kenneth Rowe for the Republican County Road Commission nomination. All Millage questions on the Keweenaw County ballot were passed.

In Ontonagon County, both applications, aimed at paying millions of dollars in outstanding pension obligations to former Ontonagon County Memorial Hospital employees, failed by a margin of more than two to one. One would have added two mills to the millages throughout the county. The other would have increased the mills within the village by 20 mills. Both increases would have run until 2028. All other Millage requests in Ontonagon County passed.

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

About Cindy Johnson

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