L. Brooks Patterson
The announcement by L. Brooks Patterson that he is battling pancreatic cancer and won't seek an eighth term as Oakland County Executive has ratcheted up speculation as to who will run for the job in 2020 – as well as morbid preparation in case the GOP incumbent is unable to finish his current term. If a vacancy occurs, the county board of commissioners has 30 days to appoint a new executive. Board chair Dave Woodward (D-Royal Oak), already planning on running for the post in 2020, could get a leg up in next year's election as the appointed incumbent – with an 11-10 seat Democrat majority on the board. Woodward, well liked even by some Republicans, could break a tie by voting for himself. Woodward would then face Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner and possibly Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown in a Democratic primary in 2020. Republicans hoping to retain the executive seat are said to be looking for a well-positioned woman to run in 2020. Rumor has it former state legislator and current county commissioner (and lobbyist) Eileen Kowall (R-White Lake) has already been approached – and has declined a potential run. However, some in the GOP could be praying former Michigan Secretary of State, county clerk and current state Senator Ruth Johnson (R-Holly) could be persuaded to jump in. For her it would be a safe run because her Senate term is not up until 2022. Other GOP names (some valid and others not) being thrown about include Sheriff Michael Bouchard, former Sen. Mike Kowall (White Lake), county commissioner Mike Gingell (Lake Orion), Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett, former Rep. Gail Haines (Lake Angelus) and former Congressman Mike Bishop (Rochester, Rochester Hills).