What’s on the Aug. 2 primary ballot? Here’s a preview from state to city

By Paul Rozycki

The upcoming Aug.2 primary election is only weeks away and, if this year is like most, we will have a light turnout for our summer election as voters are otherwise occupied with travel plans, cookouts, and staying cool. 

Yet this primary may be more important than most.  With the redistricting of the past year completed, many voters may be in new districts, and many candidates will be appealing to a new set of voters. With term limits there will also be a number of new faces on the ballot. As the pandemic eases, we will see what kind of role the absentee voters will play this time around. 

(Photo source: ACLU website)

In spite of the traditional low turnout, the primary election is often the most important one. In those areas that lean solidly Democratic, like Flint, winning the Democratic primary in August is an all but certain road to victory in November. The reverse is true in strong Republican areas such as Lapeer County or the Thumb. 

For most of the ballot, voters will be nominating candidates for either the Democratic or Republican parties. Unlike most states, Michigan does not require voters to register as a Republican or Democrat. But they can vote in only one party primary. There will also be a few non-partisan offices and millage issues on the ballot as well.

Voters can register to vote, view sample ballots, locate their polling place, and find more information with the Michigan Voter Information Center website.

Here’s what will be on the ballot this Aug. 2. 

Flint mayoral race

One of the major contests in the City of Flint is the race for mayor. The Flint mayor is elected to a four-year term.  In the non-partisan section of the ballot, incumbent Mayor Sheldon Neeley is facing former Mayor Karen Weaver, and City Councilperson Eric Mays. The top two candidates will compete in the November election. 


Though Michigan has not failed to give a governor a second term for more than 40 years, the partisanship of our times and the turmoil over the governor’s response to the pandemic could still make this a competitive race. 

Democrats: Incumbent Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is running unopposed for the Democratic Party nomination.

Republicans: The road to the Republican nomination for governor has been more complex. At one time there were 10 candidates who planned to run for the nomination. However five of them, including several leading candidates, failed to gather enough valid signatures and were excluded from the ballot. Today there are five candidates  on the ballot. They are: Tudor Dixon, Ryan Kelley, Ralph Rebandt, Kevin Rinke, and Garrett Soldano. Two of the candidates who were removed from the ballot are looking at write-in campaigns. James Craig, once a leading candidate, is planning a write-in campaign, and Perry Johnson, who invested heavily in an early media campaign, is said to be considering a possible write- in move. 

U.S. Representative in Congress

The newly created 8th Congressional District runs from Genesee County up to Bay County and includes parts of Midland County. Based on past voting results, it leans more Republican than the old 5th District that was Dan Kildee’s base for most of the last decade, and it may be a more competitive race. 

Democrats: Incumbent Dan Kildee is unopposed for the nomination and is running for his sixth term in the U.S. House.

Republicans: Three candidates are running for the Republican Party’s nomination to oppose Kildee in the November general election. They are Paul Junge, Candice Miller, and Matthew Seely.

Michigan State Senate

There are 38 members of the Michigan State Senate. They serve four-year terms and are limited to two terms.

The newly drawn 27th State Senate District includes the northern two-thirds of Genesee County, including the City of Flint, Flushing, Swartz Creek, and Burton. Incumbent Democratic Senator Jim Ananich is term-limited, and a number of candidates have filed to run. 

Democrats: Those running for the Democratic nomination in this strongly Democratic district include incumbent state Representative, John Cherry, former Flint school board member David Davenport, former city councilperson and Flint council president Monica Galloway, and Bill Swanson.

Republicans: Seeking the Republican nomination are Aaron Gardner, and Christina Hickson.

Michigan House of Representatives

There are 110 members of the Michigan State House. They serve two-year terms and are limited to three terms.

The seal of the U.S. House of Representative.(Photo by Tom Travis)

The newly-drawn 69th District covers much of the northwest areas of Genesee County

Democrats: Three Democrats — Jenifer Almassy, Kenyetta V. Dotson, and Jasper Ryan Martus — are running for their party’s nomination. 

Republicans: In November, the winner of the Democratic primary will run against Republican Jesse Couch, who is unopposed. 

State House District 70 includes all of the City of Flint.

Democrats: In the strongly Democratic area four candidates are running for their party’s nomination. They are incumbent state Rep. Cynthia R. Neeley, DeWuan Robinson, Thomas James Harris Jr. and Rich Jones.

Republicans: The winner will face either Tim Butler or Trevor Berryhill on the Republican ticket.

Genesee County Commission 

There are nine members on the Genesee County Commission and they serve two-year terms. 

District 1: (northeast Flint city), There is no primary contest. Incumbent Democrat Bryant Nolden, will face Republican Steven Cousino in the Nov. 8 general election. 

District 2: (central and south Flint city) Democratic incumbent Charles Winfrey is running against Donald Wright. The winner will face Republican Lynette Robinson, who is unopposed for the nomination.

District 3: (Burton, Davison Township) Democratic incumbent Ellen Ellenburg is being challenged by Brian Ashley for the nomination. Elizabeth Guzak, Gary Goetzinger, and Nicholas Goyette are competing for the Republican nomination. 

District 4: (Mundy Township, Grand Blanc Township) Democratic incumbent Domonique Clemons is facing challenger Kelsie Swanson for the nomination. The winner will run against either Republican Isaac Thomas or Amy Miller in November. 

Genesee County offices at the McCree Building downtown Flint. (Photo by Tom Travis)

District 5: (Grand Blanc city, Atlas Township) Incumbent Democrat James Avery is facing Mark Stillman for the nomination. The winner will run against the winner of the Republican contest. Angie Carr, Teri Lynn Chambers and J. Michelle Kline are competing for the Republican nomination. 

District 6: (Gaines, Argentine, Fenton Townships) Incumbent Republican Shaun Shumaker is the only candidate in the race. There is no primary opponent. 

District 7: (Montrose, Vienna, Thetford, Mt. Morris Townships) Democrats Martin Cousineau, Warren Coffell, and Janet Peters are seeking the nomination. The winner will run against Republican Lynn Culver who is unopposed. There is no incumbent. Commissioner Debra Newman did not file for another term. 

District 8: (Flushing, Clayton, parts of Flint Townships) Republican incumbent Meredith Davis is facing Virginia Sepanak and the top vote getter will face the winner of the Democratic primary. Dale Weighill, Andy Everman, and David Huffman are seeking the Democrtic nomination. 

District 9: (Genesee, Forest, Richfield Townships, Davison city) Incumbent Democrat Gary Peppin is not running again.  Seeking the Democratic nomination are Michelle Davis, Janessa Phillips, Mo Aboneaaj, and Patrick Land. The winner will run against Republican Sue Hopper in the fall. 

In addition to the mayors’ race, here are further local contests:

Judicial election

Voters will also be electing a judge for the 7th Circuit Court District in a non-partisan race. Circuit Court judges serve six-year terms. Those running are Mary Hood, Rebecca Jurva-Brinn, and Dawn Weier.

Township elections

Elections are also being held for several positions in Flint, Mt. Morris, Richfield and Vienna Townships, as well as a mayoral race in Montrose. 

Ballot proposals

Voters will also be deciding on two county-wide millage proposals. 

The first is to renew the Genesee County Parks and Recreation millage to a .75 level.

Flint residents lined up at City Hall to cast ballots in the 2020 election. (Photo by Paul Rozycki)

The second is to renew and increase the millage that supports the Michigan State University extension programs in the county to .08 mills.

In addition, voters in Linden, Flint Township, Clio schools, Grand Blanc Township, and Lake Fenton schools, will have millage and other ballot issues. 

County convention delegates

Though there is rarely any competition, voters will also be electing delegates to their party’s county convention. 

Voters can register to vote, view sample ballots, locate their polling place, and find more information with the Michigan Voter Information Center website.


EVM political reporter Paul Rozycki can be reached at paul.rozycki@mcc.edu.

Author: Tom Travis

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