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© 2018 by Downtown Publications, Inc.

Birmingham, Michigan

Oakland County political gossip

STRATEGIC EXIT

March 27, 2018

We heard this rumor right after the 2016 elections and it’s making the rounds once again in the Oakland County government complex on Telegraph Road: following the 2018 midterm elections, long-time Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson (1992-present; before that, county prosecutor for 16 years) is planning on resigning. Why, after all these years? Since being seriously injured in an auto accident in 2012, and still winning re-election by a landslide (while in a coma), Patterson’s been making fewer and fewer public appearances, and letting his deputies carry the majority of the work load around the office. As the theory goes, stepping down early would allow the Republican-controlled board of commissioners to appoint a new executive, who would then be positioned to run as an incumbent in the 2020 election. Who are the leading names to hypothetically be appointed should Patterson actually step down? One is uber-popular Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard, the only one to consistently pull in more votes than Patterson. The other, four-term Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett. Good intel has it that Bouchard would consider it only if he felt the sheriff’s office were in a good place, with a strong person in place to be appointed – by Democrats Clerk Lisa Brown, Prosecutor Jessica Cooper and Hon. Kathleen Ryan, Chief Probate Judge. While Patterson and Bouchard meet regularly for lunch and are cordial, it’s believed Patterson would lobby hard for Barnett, although there is talk that the two may have had a falling out over some of Barnett’s legendary videos, where he has allegedly teased Patterson a bit too much for some in the executive’s circuit. But one county worker writes it all off as pure speculation. “I don’t believe Brooks would actually relinquish any power” before this term is up.

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