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Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner (left) and Oakland County Board of Commissioners Chairman Dave Woodward.
Republicans have controlled the Oakland County executive position since it was created in 1974, but Democrats are in a position to take the seat — if they can avoid infighting.
With the death of Executive L. Brooks Patterson
on Saturday, the Democrat-controlled Oakland County Board of Commissioners has 30 days to appoint a replacement to serve until the term expires at the end of 2020.
Until then, Chief Deputy County Executive Gerald D. Poisson will take the helm, which Patterson has held since 1993. Before that, Republican Dan Murphy was the executive from the time the position was created in 1974 to 1992.
Democrats on the board have declined to publicly comment on replacing Patterson until after his funeral on Thursday.
Speaking on background, Democrats said the replacement process may get ugly. So far, two Democrats have expressed interest in the seat. One of them is county Treasurer Andy Meisner. The other is county board Chairman Dave Woodward.
Democrats have an 11-to-10 majority. But according to the charter, Woodward cannot be considered for the appointment unless he resigns as commissioner. And if he resigns, the Democrats and Republicans would each have 10 commissioners.
In the event of a tie or indecision, a special election would be held, with the primary election in November and the general election on March 10.
Among the possible Republican candidates are Sheriff Michael Bouchard, former U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop, and two former state lawmakers: Mike Kowall and Mike McCready.
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