— A clear choice emerged in a tough campaign to fill a judicial vacancy on the 86th District Court. The best person to succeed retiring Judge John Foresman is Mike Stepka, a Traverse City attorney and Grand Traverse County commissioner.
Stepka boasts top-shelf qualifications to be a judge in a court that covers Antrim, Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties. He's practiced law in the district court for years, is well-respected in the local legal community, and should make a seamless move to the bench. He's been a thoughtful, reasonable presence on the oft-volatile county board, attributes that bode well for taxpayers and those who would appear before him.
Stepka's opponent, term-limited Republican state Rep. Kevin Elsenheimer, ran a rather unsavory campaign, and offered a late mea culpa for a shaky-at-best robo call that attempted to sully fellow Republican Stepka by claiming he was supported by — gasp! — local Democrats. Elsenheimer said he OK'd the robo call despite precarious evidence, a poor decision by someone who wants to be a judge.