Death of a candidate
10:51 am
Wed October 20, 2010

Mayor of Kalamazoo to run for Michigan Senate

Democratic Party leaders in Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties have chosen their candidate to replace Robert Jones - Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell.

Robert Jones was running for the Michigan Senate in the 20th district when he died over the weekend. He was battling esophageal cancer.

In Michigan, votes for a deceased candidate do not count, so party leaders had to put forward a new candidate.

Ken Silfven with the Michigan Secretary of State's office says voters who cast an absentee ballot for Jones can request a new ballot in writing from local election officials.

The Kalamazoo Gazette reports that party leaders only put forward one name - Mayor Hopewell's. Hopewell accepted and said:

“I want to make sure that Bob’s work continues. I have a belief in what he stood for. Someone had to step in and it seemed logical for me to do that.”

Hopewell has less that two weeks to get out the vote, and admits it will be a challenge:

“It takes dollars. It takes money to run a campaign and that’s one of the challenges. There are lot of things that are challenging in this effort and we’ll deal with those.”

Hopewell's opponent is Republican Tonya Schuitmaker. She had suspended her campaign after Jones' death.