Race to replace Karen Spranger gets heated

MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. – When longtime Macomb County Clerk Carmela Sabaugh opted to not run at the last minute in 2016, her friend and fellow Macomb County politician, Fred Miller was prepped and ready to jump in the race.

A move the political class in Macomb County viewed as Sabaugh handpicking her successor which the Macomb County executive flat out calls an attempt to the rig the election in a mailer headed to Macomb County voters mailboxes.

“In this particular situation you’ve got a bad candidate who is running for an office and already tried to rig an election. It’s simple to come out and say this isn’t right folks,” Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said.

Voters in Macomb County didn’t like the maneuver either. Instead, they elected the unknown Karen Spranger to the seat over Miller. What followed was a civil war in the clerk’s office and Spranger being removed by a court. It was a mess. Hackel is wholly uninterested in anybody involved in that mess trying again for clerk which is why he’s coming out against Miller, a fellow Democrat.

Hackel did the same thing when Republican Candice Miller ran against longtime Macomb Public Works director Tony Marrocco. Hackel supported Miller and took a lot of flack from Democratic Party insiders. Months later the feds indicted Marrocco’s longtime lieutenant Dino Bucci and Marocco himself is under federal investigation. Hackel regrets nothing.

“Public officials need to start doing the same thing and bring it to the attention of the public not being afraid of the backlash that might come along with it,” Hackel said.

Hackel isn’t the only one weighing in on the upcoming primary election for Macomb County clerk. Michigan Democratic Party chairman Brandon Dillon told Local 4 he finds it bad form that some Democratic Party clubs in Macomb, specifically the Phil Hart Club are funding attack mailers against fellow Democrats.

“We need to be building Democrats up, not tearing each other down," Dillon said.