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The announcement by L. Brooks Patterson that he is battling pancreatic cancer and won’t seek an eighth term as Oakland County Executive has intensified 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. Word is she is considering it – a safe run because her Senate term is not up until 2022. Despite rumors, Oakland Sheriff Mike Bouchard has let word out he’s content to stay where he is. But former Rep. Mike McCready (Birmingham, Bloomfield), who now works as director of economic development at the county, is strongly considering jumping in, and may have the blessing and backing of Patterson. Another strong Republican possibility is Oakland County Commissioner Mike Gingell, who had been board chair. Word had been Gingell was too busy to consider running, with a young family and a demanding job. But that employer let him go a couple weeks ago. Stay tuned.


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