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Green Party wins Grand Traverse County seat


Grand Traverse County has a new commissioner from the Green Party. Tom Mair won the seat with 53 percent of the vote.

He ousted incumbent Christine Maxbauer, the chair of the Grand Traverse County board. She received 46 percent of the vote.

"I'm actually pretty surprised," Mair told Interlochen Public Radio early Wednesday morning.

He says he was surprised he won by a significant margin. He gained around 400 more votes than Maxbauer, which amounts to around 7 percent of the vote. 

"That's pretty good. It's not a small number of votes," he says.

According to the Green Party's national website, Mair is one of two elected officials for the Green Party in Michigan. Korie Blyveis is the clerk in Newberg Township in southwest Michigan. 
"It's big," says Mair. "We're definitely the minor party of the [election] night's story, but the fact that I could get elected in a mostly Republican dominated county commission  – it's been that way for some time. It's going to be six Republicans and one Green looking at issues, and I'm going to bring something different to the table."

Mair says he hopes to sway the county toward becoming more environmentally conscious and protecting the Boardman River. Mair is also optimistic about the county's finances.

“I don’t think it’s a crisis or as dramatic as it’s been portrayed,” he says.

Mair says the county can get on track in the future.

"It'll be a nice place to work again for those [county] employees," he says. "They won't fear a reprisal, and they won't fear the threat of losing their jobs."

He thinks bonding retirement debt could be a way out of the county's financial debt.

The election was a rematch for Mair, who lost this race to Maxbauer in 2014.

Incumbent Christine Maxbauer recently had legal issues. In August, she pleaded guilty to drunk driving and was sentenced to a year of probation