Déjà vu: Ambrozaitis challenges Barnett again in Rochester Hills

Erik Ambrozaitis and incumbent Bryan Barnett will once again slug it out in the August primary election race for mayor of Rochester Hills. They’ll be joined by two other candidates, Paul Miller and Luke Wylie.

Ambrozaitis is a former councilman who ran against Barnett in the 2007 primary, coming in second with 13 percent of the vote. He lost his seat on council in 2009. Wylie is an Adams High School student who announced his intention to run last year. He has nearly 3,500 friends on Facebook, where he describes himself as an actor, director and comedian. Miller has previously run for city council and served on the city’s Historic Districts Commission and the Paint Creek Trailway Commission.

Miller said he’s happy to see so many candidates, especially a young person like Wylie. “I’m always pleased when there’s involvement and awareness from residents,” Miller said. He said he’ll offer a unique point of view. 

“I’m running to present the rest of the story,” he said. “I’d like to present the real story and present the option, the road not taken.”

In the city-council races, two incumbents, J. Martin Brennan and Vern Pixley, are not running for re-election. Nine people are running for the three available seats, two at-large and one for District 2.

In District 2, where Brennan is stepping down, the candidates are Howard Elandt, Adam Kochenderfer, Michael Kotubey and Laurie Puscas. Elandt and Kochenderfer also filed to run in the at-large race; they have until Friday to withdraw from one of the races. Kochenderfer said Thursday he has decided to run for the District 2 seat. Eland said he was leaning toward the at-large seat.

Elandt is a developer and Tea Party activist. He said his campaign slogan will be “Together getting it done.” Kochenderfer is an attorney who has served on the city’s Green Space Advisory Board and the Historic District Study Committee. He described himself as a “mainstream Republican” and is a Republican precinct delegate and member of the executive committee of the county party. Puscas is a self-employed journalist, blogger and photographer who has served as treasurer of the Community Media Network board.

Also running for the at-large seats are incumbent Michael Webber and newcomers Peter Adair, Kathleen Fitzgerald, Dee Hilbert and Mark Tisdel. Hilbert is a nurse, longtime council watcher and founding member of Citizens Voice Rochester Hills, as well as a Republican precinct delegate. Tisdel is a partner in an insurance company specializing in medical malpractice insurance.

Tisdel said he’s not surprised at the number of candidates, and pointed out that there were even more in recent past elections. “I think that’s a good thing,” he said.

The primary election is August 2. The general election is November 8.

By Annette Kingsbury


  1. reality check says

    Deja vue is right…weak set of competitors for mayor and rebuilding his voting slate for another four years by endorsing Webber and recruiting his college buddy Adam to move to Rochester Hills just under the 12 month window to file for office. That said, I will actually vote for Bryan for mayor. Overall, he has done a good job.

    I wish I could say the same for the City Council. Pickets and demonstrations are not signs of a well functioning body. Lets just hope voters elect a diverse set of candidates who can truly represent the voters and avoid the problems the current city council has experienced. Lets also hope the media presents a fair picture of the candidates.

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